Christie's International moved $18.3 million in art at its contemporary London auction on Friday. Three pieces sold for more than $1.6 million (including fees), with the top price going for a piece by Martin Kippenberger ($3.76 million); a phone bidder acquired it. Of the 25 lots offered at the art auction, which coincided with the Frieze Art Fair, 24 sold. Half the lots went to bidders from North America.
The equivalent auction held by Christie's last year consisted of 47 lots and brought in revenue of $52 million. But, it missed the low-end estimate of $95 million by a mile. At that auction, 45 percent of the lots didn't sell.
The seemingly better performance this year may provide a warm feeling to a market that's been battered for a while, but it should be balanced against the fact that expectations were much lower than last year, a trend that has developed throughout the art market slump.