Contemporary Art Scores for Auction Houses

Sales swelled 36% in 2007; some fear houses too invested in the new
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 27, 2007 11:39 AM CST

(Newser) – Contemporary art has been very good to Sotheby’s, fueling a 46% boost in sales for the world’s second-largest auctioneer this year over last, Bloomberg says. A crop of new collectors from the US, Russia and Asia brought new records for artists like Francis Bacon and Jeff Koons, for a total take of $5.33 billion. But some dealers fear the craze could be headed for a crash.

Industry auction totals are expected to swell 36% this year and could grow another 7.5% next year, but one dealer warns the liquidity “won’t last forever.” Profits at Sotheby’s may dip 2% in 2008. But the auction house says it isn’t worried about its heightened dependence on contemporary art. (Read more Sotheby's stories.)

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