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
A Sotheby's auctioneer looks for bids on the Francis Bacon 'Second Version of Study for Bullfight No. 1' on 14 November 2007 in New York. The piece was sold during Sotheby's sale of contemporary art....   (Getty Images)
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(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.)