See the 1823 entry of Christies Auction House History.....
James Christie holds a sale from his Great Rooms in Pall Mall, his first permanent auction rooms, on 5 December. The sale includes 2 chamber pots, a pair of sheets, 2 pillowcases and 4 irons.
James Christie values Sir Robert Walpole’s collection of pictures on behalf of his grandson George Walpole, 3rd Earl, and negotiates their sale from Houghton for £40,000 to the Empress of Russia, Catherine the Great.
The five-day sale of the contents of the studio of Sir Joshua Reynolds, P.R.A.. realizes £25,000. Following the execution in 1793 of Madame du Barry, mistress of Louis XVI, her jewels are sold by James Christie for £8,791,4s 9d.
Hogarth’s Mariage a` la Mode, sells for 1,000 guineas (£1,050). The series of satirical paintings now hangs in the National Gallery, London.
James Christie II takes over the business on his father’s death.
Christie’s moves to new premises at 8 King Street, St. James’s, the present London headquarters.
On the death of James Christie II, William Manson joins the firm, which becomes Christie & Manson.
The Collection of the Duke of Buckingham, the Stowe House sale, lasts 40 days and realises £ 75,562.
Christie, Manson & Woods is formed when Thomas Woods becomes a director. Woods was the son of the Stowe gamekeeper and his interest in pictures had become apparent to the Christie’s partners during the course of the house sale.
Gainsborough’s portrait of the Duchess of Devonshire becomes the first work of art to sell for 10,000 guineas (£10,500).
The Hamilton Palace Sale. A remarkable collection of pictures formed by the 10th Duke of Hamilton are dispersed in a sale that lasts 17 days and achieves a total of £392,562. Eleven of the pictures are bought by the newly founded National Gallery, London.
Christie’s sells its first Impressionist picture: L’Absinthe by Degas. The picture, which today hangs in the Louvre, fetches £189.
The last in this series of seven sales of gifts to the Red Cross, held since 1915, brings the aggregate total raised to almost £420,000 (more red cross sales followed the second world war).
Romney’s Portrait of Mrs. Davenport becomes the most expensive work of art to be sold between the two World wars at £60,900. It now hangs in the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
Christie’s premises suffer a direct hit during the Blitz. The firm moves to Derby House, near Oxford Street, and then to Spencer House in St. James’s, finally returning to the re-built King Street premises in 1953.
Christie’s establishes its first overseas office, by placing a representative in Rome.
Rembrandt’s Portrait of Titus sells for 760,000 guineas (£798,000).
Christie’s opens its first overseas salesroom in Geneva where it holds international jewellery auctions.
Christie’s offices are opened in Paris and Tokyo.
Velazquez’s Portrait of Juan de Pareja fetches £2.3 million, it is the first work of art to sell for over £1 million. The painting now hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Christie’s becomes a public company quoted on the London Stock Exchange.
Christie’s opens an office in Amsterdam.
Christie’s South Kensington is established. The Star of South Africa, a pear-shaped diamond, sells in Geneva for SFr 1.6 million.
Christie’s saleroom opens on Park Avenue, New York, with the first series of sales realising £5 million.
The Ford Collection of Impressionist Paintings is sold in New York for $18.4 million. The Codex Leicester, a collection of notes and drawings on cosmology and water, compiled by Leonardo da Vinci circa 1508, is sold in New York for £ 2.2 million.
Old Master Drawings from the celebrated collection of the Duke of Devonshire at Chatsworth realize £20 million. The sale includes an exquisite Raphael drawing, Hand of an Apostle Study for the Head, which sells for £3.5 million.
Mantegna’s masterpiece, The Adoration of the Magi becomes the most expensive Old Master painting ever sold at the time for £8.1 million. It now hangs in the Getty Museum, Malibu.
Manet’s La Rue Monsieur aux Paveurs becomes the most expensive Impressionist painting ever sold at auction when it realizes £7.7 million.
The ‘Nanking Cargo’ of Chinese porcelain and gold ingots salvaged from a Dutch East Indiaman sold in Amsterdam for a total of £10.2 million. This is the first of a series of ‘shipwreck sales’.
A stellar year for records at Christie's; Van Gogh’s Sunflowers sell for £24.75 million, and a second work by van Gogh, Le Pont de Trinquetaille, achieves £12.65 million. Other important records are achieved for a Gutenberg Bible, at £3.3 million, a D Flawless 64.83 carat diamond, at £3.9 million, and a 1931 Bugatti Royale motor car, at £5.5 million.
Van Gogh’s Portrait of Adeline Ravoux sells for $13.75 million at Christie’s New York. Picasso’s Acrobate et Jeune Arlequin sells for £20.9 million at Christie’s London.
Pontormo’s Portrait of Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici becomes the most expensive Old Master Picture ever sold at $35.2 million (at the time). It now hangs in the Getty Museum, Malibu.
Christie’s expands in the Far East with the formation of a joint venture company, Christie’s Swire (Hong Kong) Limited.
A new saleroom is opened in Melbourne, Australia.
Van Gogh’s Portrait of Dr. Gachet becomes the most expensive work of art ever sold when it fetches £49.1 million at Christie’s New York.
The Badminton Cabinet sells for £8,580,000 $15.1 million, setting the record for any piece of furniture or applied work of art.
Titian’s Venus and Adonis is sold for £7.5 million.
Michelangelo’s Rest on the Flight to Egypt is sold at Christie’s London for £4.2 million, a record price for an Old Master Drawing at auction.
A magnificent Assyrian bas-relief from the Palace of Ashurnasirpal II at Nimrud, dating from the 9th Century B.C., is discovered in a boys’ school in Dorset, and sets a world record for any antiquity when it is sold at Christie’s for £ 7.7 million.
Christie’s first jewellery sale in Hong Kong makes $2.7 million. The ‘Mdivani’ necklace sells for HK$33 million, a world record price for jadeite jewellery and a world record price for any work of art sold in Asia.
The sale of works of art from Houghton hall, home of the Marquess of Cholmondeley, fetches in excess of £24 million on 8 December.
Jewels from the personal collection of Princess Salimah Aga Khan are sold in Geneva for £27.7 million. Christie’s acquires a real estate subsidiary in the United States, Christie’s Great Estates.
The Collection of the late Rudolph Nureyev is dispersed in the sales in London and New York. The auctions realize a total of more than $10 million, a single pair of ballet slippers fetching £12,000.
For the first time since 1882, a picture by a living artist is the most expensive work to be sold during the year. Willem de Kooning’s Woman sells in New York for $15.6 million.
Raphael’s exquisite study for the Head and Hand of an Apostle, which had been the centrepiece of the sale of Old Master Master Drawings from Chatsworth in 1984, appears at auction again, this time selling for £5.3 million, and setting a new record for an Old Master Drawing at auction.
The sale in New York of the collection of Impressionist and Modern art formed by John and Frances L. Loeb fetches a stellar $93 million.
The Victor and Sally Ganz sale makes auction history, totalling $206.5 million (£122.2 million) when it sells in New York, the highest total ever for any single-owner sale at auction.
A Charity gala auction of 79 Dresses from the Collection of Diana, Princess of Wales, are sold for a staggering $3,258,750 (£1,960,150) in Christie’s New York. The proceeds of the sale benefited the Royal Marsden Hospital Cancer Fund and AIDS Crisis Trust
The sale of Vincent van Gogh’s self portrait, Portrait de l’artiste sans barbe for $71.5 million (£42.8 million), takes the record of the most expensive work of art sold at auction for the whole year.
Artemis S.A. acquire Christie’s International plc.
In April, Christie’s new American headquarters open at 20 Rockefeller Plaza, New York.
The Collection of The Barons Nathaniel and Albert von Rothschild sells in July at Christie’s London for £57.7 million, the highest ever total for a single owner sale in Europe and breaking 27 world records, including nine in the old master paintings category alone.
The Personal Property of Marilyn Monroe goes under the hammer in Christie’s America’s newly opened Rockefeller Plaza, selling for over $13.4 million (£8.1 million). The highlight is the ‘Happy Birthday’ dress, worn by Marilyn on 19 May 1962 to sing to President John F. Kennedy, which realizes over $1.2 million, a world record for a woman’s costume and the third highest price for an item of celebrity memorabilia.
A Michelangelo drawing, Study for the Risen Christ, formerly part of the collection of Sir Brinsley Ford, sold in London for £8.1 million. Picasso’s Femme aux bras Croix sells for $55 million in New York, the most expensive Picasso ever sold and the fifth highest price at auction for any work of art.
Christie’s state-of-the-art new premises in Paris open on 9 avenue Matignon. The first sale takes place on 5 December, precisely 235 years after James Christie’s first sale. In London, Horse and Rider by Leonardo da Vinci equals the record for any Old Master Drawing at auction and sells for £8.1 million.
A highly important classical Roman marble statue of the Jenkins Venus, of Medici type, sells for $11.6 million (£7.9 million), and takes a world record price for any antiquity ever sold at auction.
The world auction record for an Indian jewel was established at Christie’s in September when a Mughal emerald wine cup, from the period of Jahangir (1605-1627AD), sold for £1,797,250 ($2,963,665).
The Badminton Cabinet is sold for £19,045,250 ($36,662,106) in London in December, breaking its own record as the most expensive work of decorative art ever sold.
Christie’s opens a representative office in Dubai and stages a groundbreaking public exhibition.
April: Giudecca, La Donna della Salute and San Giorgio by J.M.W. Turner fetches an outstanding $35,656,000 and sets a new world auction record for a British painting.
Inaugural sale of International Modern and Contemporary Art staged in Dubai on 24 May at the Emirates Tower Hotel.
The sale of The Collection of Her Royal Highness The Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon realises £13,658,728, generating unprecedented interest and exceeding all pre-sale expectations with 100% of lots selling.
The launch of Christie’s LIVE™ signals a new era for the industry. Offering the ability to bid remotely from the comfort of your home, it combines real-time video and audio with clear bidding instructions to allow users to ‘virtually’ attend auctions at Christie’s salerooms across the globe.
The most valuable sale in the history of auctioneering at the time, Christie’s New York sale of Impressionist and Modern Art in November totals $491,472,000, including the sale of the four Klimt paintings restituted to the heirs of Adele and Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer - one of the most fervently awaited events in art market history, collectively totalling $192,704,000.
December: David Linley is appointed Chairman of Christie’s UK.
Christie’s International announces the acquisition of Haunch of Venison, the renowned contemporary art gallery with exhibition spaces in London, New York and Berlin - a major initiative to enter the primary art market and develop its private post-war and contemporary art sales business worldwide.
Christie’s June week of Impressionist and Modern Art and Post-War and Contemporary Art auctions in London realises £237,055,980 / $470,408,453 / €349,647,337, a record total for any week of art sales in Europe, establishing 23 new world auction records and 48 lots sell over £1 million.
Portrait of Lorenzo de Medici by Raffaello Sanzio, called Raphael (1483-1520) sold at Christie’s in London for £18,500,000 ($37,277,500 / €27,343,000), a world record price for the artist at auction and a world record price for an Italian Old Master Picture (by US$).
The Rothschild Fabergé Egg sold at Christie’s London for £8,980,500 / $18,499,830 / €12,509,837, a world record price for a Russian object (not including paintings) at auction, for a work of art by Fabergé at auction, and for any timepiece (clock or watch) at auction.
Christie’s celebrates 20 years of auctions in Hong Kong in November and makes history in Asia surpassing HK$2 billion mark in autumn sales with the highest total for any series of sales in Asia (HK$2.1 billion), comprising sales in art, watches and jewellery. World auction records are set across all categories for Asian auctions.
The Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale in June realises £144,440,500 / $283,970,023 - the highest ever total for an art auction held in Europe. The top lot was Le bassin aux nymphéas (saleroom video), a masterpiece painting by Claude Monet which realised £40,921,250 / $80,451,178 / €51,683,539, a world record price for the artist at auction and the most expensive price ever paid for an Impressionist picture. This is also the most expensive work of art ever sold by Christie’s in Europe.
Also in London in June, the most significant auction of 18th century English furniture saw ten masterpiece works realise a total of £10,330,500 / $20,154,806 / €12,995,769, as four lots sold for over £2 million. The sale was led by The Kenure Cabinet by Thomas Chippendale, the finest example of his craft ever to appear at auction, which realised £2,729,250 / $5,324,767 and became the most expensive piece of British furniture ever sold at auction.
In New York, Lucian Freud’s Benefits Supervisor Sleeping (saleroom video) sells for $33,641,000 setting a world auction record for any living artist.
The Wittelsbach diamond, an historic 17th Century cushion-shaped deep grayish blue, VS2 diamond of 35.56 cts, sells for £16,393,250 / $24,311,190, setting a record price for any diamond, or any jewel, sold at auction.
The three-day sale of the magnificent Collection of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé at the Grand Palais, offered by Christie’s in association with Pierre Bergé & Associates auctioneers, realised €342.5 million (£304.9 million/$443.1 million) – setting a record as the most valuable private collection ever sold at auction, and the highest grossing sale in Europe.
Christie’s launches an iPhone ‘app’ - a mobile application that extends the company’s online experience to a global audience of Apple mobile device users.
The Vivid Pink diamond is sold in Hong Kong in December for HK$83.5 million (US$10.8 million) - a new record price per carat for any gemstone ever sold at auction ($2.1 million per carat), and a record price for a pink diamond sold at auction.
The Old Masters and 19th Century Art Evening Sale in London in December realises £68.4 million ($112.4 million) – the highest ever total for an Old Master auction. Raphael's Head of a Muse, an auxiliary drawing used to execute his masterpiece frescos in the Vatican, realises £29.2 million ($47.9 million) - the 2nd highest price ever paid for an Old Master and the record ever price for any work on paper; while Rembrandt's Portrait of a Man sells for £20.2 million ($33.2 million), the world record price for the artist at auction.
Pablo Picasso's Nude, Green Leaves and Bust (saleroom video) from the Collection of Mrs. Sidney F. Brody (video feature) sold for a record $106,482,500 (£70,278,450), breaking the world record for the most expensive artwork sold at auction. The Brody Collection achieved $224,177,500 (£147,957,150), the highest total for a single-owner sale offered at Christies New York, and sold 100% by lot and value.
Also in May, the Michael Crichton Collection (video feature) of contemporary art became the most significant collection in its field ever sold, realizing $103,330,913 million. Jasper Johns’ Flag (saleroom video) broke the world record for the artist selling at $28,642,500.
In Paris in June, Amedeo Modigliani’s Tête (video feature) broke the record for the highest price achieved for a work of art sold at auction in France, realizing €43.185.000 (£35,886,735 / $52,620,923). It also became the world record price for a work of art by Modigliani to be sold at auction.
The Impressionist and Modern Evening Sale in London in June realized £152,595,550 ($226,451,796) - the highest ever total for an art auction held in the United Kingdom and the most valuable various-owner sale in European art market history.