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The Hermitage’s next 10 years
Saddam’s secret hoard of Jewish manuscripts
New York design sales, collectors show the trends ahead
World Bank’s $160 million loan to St Petersburg
Christie’s denies wrongdoing in Nazi loot claim
Roman athlete under-performs but demand is strong
British Museum buys Iraq “most wanted” cards
Concorde flies in the salesrooms
EU shelve changes to hallmarks
Class action specialists return

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Contemporary art: record prices!
New York sales of contemporary art have confirmed the exceptional dynamism of this market in mid season.

Over three days – from 9 to 11 May – Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips managed to sell no less than 77 works of contemporary art over the USD 1 million mark. During May 2005, only 44 pieces reached the 1 million mark, and in May 2001 the figure was just 24.

As a result of these latest outstanding sales, a number of new records have been generated. Among the highest… USD 14 million for Roy LICHTENSTEIN’s Sinking sun (1964)… USD 8.6 million for a large format Robert RYMAN created in 1962… and USD 3.2 million for one of David HOCKNEY’s “Californian” paintings.
One of the most surprising records was the USD 2 million fetched by Andreas GURSKY’s “99 Cent” in a session that went so “high” that it was conducted in almost complete silence. now holds the title of “world’s most expensive contemporary photographer”. However, Edward Steichen holds the all-time auction record for a photograph (all periods combined) after his “The Pond, Moonlight” (1904) sold for USD 2.6 million on 14 February of this year.
These latest auctions have significantly accelerated the speed of price inflation in the field of contemporary. After progressing 18% between May 2003 and May 2004, then 9% the following year, the Artprice Global Index is now showing a 41% increase over the last 12 months. This is the sharpest rise ever recorded on this segment of the market.