Sotheby’s announces landmark 2022 results driven by continued innovation, exceptional series of marquee auctions in both Fine Art and Luxury, three single-owner collections totalling over $100 million, further expansion of global audiences and successful integration of RM Sotheby’s and Sotheby’s Concierge Auctions into the core business.
Sotheby’s total consolidated sales are projected to reach new heights of $8 billion for 2022, with Fine Art and Luxury auction sales currently standing at $6.4 billion – including Sotheby’s online sales at $580 million, and totals from newly-acquired businesses RM Sotheby’s and Sotheby’s Concierge Auctions – while Private Sales are set to reach over $1.1 billion for the third consecutive year.
Expanded offerings and digital reach continue to attract new bidders across the business: over 40% of bidders this year were new to Sotheby’s (reaching nearly 50% in luxury categories). This is especially true of the next generation, with 2022 seeing a record number of bidders under 40 years old (in the luxury categories, the number under 20 years old has more than tripled.)
The flight to quality in 2022 led to sustained demand for blue-chip masterpieces – whether in established or new categories such as classic cars or collectibles. Bringing to market a curated selection of exceptional works of art and luxury objects supported by unparalleled expertise is key to our business as we continue to embrace innovation, broaden our range of offerings, and grow our audience through expanded digital reach. We look forward to continuing to deliver a best-in-class client experience and, of course, celebrating our milestone 50-year anniversary in Asia.Charles F. Stewart, Sotheby’s CEO
Expanding Global Footprint
Asia: As the market leader in Asia for a seventh consecutive year, Sotheby’s today announces a transformative step forward: the opening of a new 24,000-square-foot location at Landmark Chater in the very heart of Hong Kong in 2024. The multi-story building will encompass an expansive state-of-the-art exhibition space and serve as a showcase for Sotheby’s full suite of industry-leading offerings – from the company’s signature auctions, private sales, masterworks exhibitions, to art and luxury collectables available for instant purchase via Sotheby’s Buy Now platform. The new location will enable continuous client engagement cadenced by a sale calendar spread across the year, with live auctions hosted within the same compound. A Sotheby’s café concept will complement this all-encompassing experience.
The announcement, which comes alongside the projected opening of new premises in Shanghai in 2023, follows a strong year for Sotheby’s in Asia, with auction sales of $1.1 billion – matching the company’s 2021 all-time-high record. During 2022, Sotheby’s also opened a new office in Tokyo, staged its first auction in Singapore for 15 years and held the first major international exhibition in Vietnam. The year also welcomed new appointments in Mainland China, South Korea and Thailand, as well as the recent expansion of Sotheby’s Buy Now in Hong Kong to enable collectors to acquire art and luxury collectables via an intuitive digital platform all-year round in addition to the auction calendar.
Further Asia highlights:
- Client base in Asia is rapidly expanding, with a record number of bidders, and a marked increase in levels of under-40s bidding in Sotheby’s sales (having tripled this year).
- Asian collectors are spending more per person on average than collectors from elsewhere in the world (just over 20%), and bidding 40% more per person on average.
- In Sotheby’s sales in Asia, 1 in 3 bidders were new to the company; and in Sotheby’s global sales, 68% of new bidders were from countries in Asia.
- Among the top 10 lots sold at auction in Asia this year, eight were sold by Sotheby’s.
- Next year, Sotheby’s will celebrate its 50-year anniversary in Asia, a milestone that will be marked with a series of exceptional exhibitions, events and auctions staged across the region.
Expanded presence in the Middle East: marking its 5-year anniversary, Sotheby’s Dubai gallery has played host to more exhibitions than ever before becoming a go-to location for the unveiling of global auction highlights and the home of selling exhibitions working directly with artists. This expansion is reflected by the metrics: in 2022, 40% of buyers and bidders from the Middle East have been transacting for the first time.
2022 was also a standout year for Europe with consolidated sales of $2.3 billion – the highest total since 2015. London sales of $1.4 billion are at their highest levels since 2018; Paris has had its strongest year ever (separate press release to come); Italy had its second strongest year in a decade, and Sotheby’s held its first live auction in Cologne.
2022 also saw successful new gallery openings in Brussels (May), Monaco (June) and Aspen (June).
Sustained Demand For Masterpieces Drives Global Fine Art Sales
In 2022 fresh-to-market single-owner collections have helped meet collector demand for exceptional masterpieces leading to over 120 artist records achieved across Sotheby’s marquee sales this year.
- Consolidated Global Fine Art sales set to reach $5.7 billion
- Highest auction totals for Impressionist & Modern Art at $1.2 billion since 2015
- Contemporary Art auctions total $1.8 billion – second only to 2021
- Success is driven by:
- Single owner sales, accounting for $800 million of fine art auction total, including three collections achieving over $100 million each (David M. Solinger, Sir Joseph Hotung, The Macklowe Collection). Hôtel Lambert, with a total of €76.6 million, set a world record for an auction of French decorative arts and became Sotheby’s most valuable ‘house sale’ ever.
- Single-owner sales of 20th-century Design drove annual sales in this category to their second-highest levels, including the collections of Ronald Perelman ($35 million) and Dorothée Lalanne. With the second part of the Lalanne collection raising $47.5 million this year, this collection because the most valuable sold in France in a decade, achieving $142 million across scales in 2021 and 2022,
- New sale formats producing white glove results: The Now, featuring masters of today and tomorrow, has achieved $244 million since launch in late 2021, while Artists’ Choice, an innovative primary platform empowering galleries and artists to play an active role in shaping their public markets while supporting causes they care about debuted in the Fall.
Demand for works by Women artists: The number of works by women artists sold at Sotheby’s for over $1 million has increased by over 70% since 2019.
Top two most valuable works by female artists at Sotheby’s this year: Louise Bourgeois’ Spider IV (also the most valuable sculpture ever offered in Asia at $16.5m); and Tamara de Lempicka’s Portrait De Romana de la Salle (sold for $14.1m)
- Next year, Sotheby’s will stage (Women) Artists, a programme of exhibitions, events, talks and sales in London to mark International Women’s Day throughout February and March.
- Sotheby’s welcomes a new class of in-house auctioneers: five graduates who bring an impressive wealth of knowledge to the rostrum, diverse perspectives and cultures, and span from five separate departments within the business.
Luxury Categories Double In Value
Sotheby’s Luxury sales have more than doubled, set to reach $2.3 billion this year, including newly-acquired RM Sotheby’s and Sotheby’s Concierge Auctions – a record high for any auction house. Further significant sales are still to come this month, with New York Luxury Week (carrying a low estimate of $120 million) currently underway.
- Record highs were reached in an abundance of categories, including: Wine & Spirits, Watches, Handbags & Accessories, Streetwear & Modern Collectibles and Science & Popular Culture, with sales in Jewelry on track for its highest total in five years, leading the global auction market in the category. In France, The 162nd Hospices de Beaune wine sale realised $33 million – a record total for any wine auction held by Sotheby’s and the highest-ever total for a charity wine auction.
- 5 of the top 10 most valuable items sold at auction this year were in Luxury, including the Williamson Pink Star diamond which sold in Hong Kong for $57.8 million, Sotheby’s Concierge Auctions sale of America’s largest residence The One for over $141 million, a world record for the most valuable home ever sold in the US through auction, and RM Sotheby’s sale of a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe for €135 million, making it the most valuable car ever sold.
- Expansion of categories and new initiatives include Sotheby’s Concierge Auctions’ first live real estate sale at Sotheby’s York Avenue salesroom in September (second edition in December); introduction of first regular streetwear and modern collectables sales (totalling $47.8m), first spirits auction in France and the first evening sale of watches in Asia, the largest tiara exhibition in London for 20 years; and the second edition of Brilliant and Black, a selling exhibition dedicated exclusively to jewellers of Black origin.
- Buy Now, Sotheby’s online destination for extraordinary fine art and luxury objects available for immediate purchase, has grown over 100% in gross sales this, has a $7k average unit value (up 30%), and has just launched in Asia in response to the growing demand from new and existing collectors in the region.
- New selling formats also include Sotheby’s Sealed which was unveiled by RM Sotheby’s in the Spring of 2022 and has already become an incredibly successful online platform offering some of the world’s most significant cars to an exclusive global audience. The proprietary auction system has been used to sell Juan Manuel Fangio’s personal Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster, the fabled white Ferrari Enzo, McLaren F1 chassis no. 059, the Warhol 300 SL Gullwing, and now the “Matte Nero Opaco Enzo.”
Recognized as one of Time 100 Most Influential Companies in 2022, Sotheby’s saw a strong audience increase in both reach and demographics with continued investments in seamless digital client experiences and cultural collaborations with Skepta, Robert Pattinson, Robbie Williams, Ryan Murphy, Jerry Gogosian, and Charlie Mackesy.
- Over 26 million Livestream views – an all-time high – with the November New York marquee sale week garnering 7.3 million views – the highest ever for any sale week at Sotheby’s
- 4.7 million social followers across all platforms:
- Little Red Book and Douyin launched in Asia
- Launch of @sothebysdesign, @sothebyssneakers and @sothebysstyle on Instagram
- First-ever live streaming of the Marquee Week auctions to Instagram
- Social media engagement in 2022 saw a 25% increase YoY across global social channels
- NY May Marquee Tik Toks saw 6 million+ views with the top video of behind the auction turnstile reaching over 3 million views
- 17.3 million unique visitors to Sothebys.com YTD, up 35% on 2021
- Downloads of Sotheby’s App are up 70% YoY
- 91% of auction bids placed online
Sotheby’s Social Impact
This year saw the launch of Sotheby’s Impact. underscoring the company’s commitment to making the art and luxury industries more inclusive, sustainable, and collaborative.
This September, Sotheby’s hosted its Inaugural Impact Gala which raised over $3 million for Instituto Terra, the acclaimed NGO founded by renowned photographer Sebastião Salgado focused on reforestation and ecological education in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest.
In addition, Sotheby’s benefit auctions raised over $430 million for charitable organizations, which includes funds raised through live auctions with Sotheby’s volunteer auctioneers, consigned lots in Sotheby’s sales and stand-alone benefit auctions on Sothebys.com.
Record Year For SFS
Sotheby’s Financial Services experienced a year of unprecedented growth driven by increased client demand and propelled by expanded scale, strategic new hires and technological innovation.
- Sustaining Growth Across Global Portfolio: A 50% portfolio increase YoY is underscored by a 30% expansion in client base, thus cementing Sotheby’s belief that the increasing demand for full-service art lending is secular.
- Expanding Capital Framework: Secured additional committed capital to satisfy increasing client demand and empower future portfolio growth, while diversifying funding sources with the introduction of five new partners.
- Building Transformational Technology: Deployed an end-to-end tech-enabled loan management platform purpose-built to improve client experience, create efficiencies and further enable scale.
Coming up in January 2023, alongside New York Old Masters Week, starring one of the most important collections of Baroque art ever to appear on the market (the Fisch Davidson collection, estimated at $40-60 million), Sotheby’s will host a new live sale format called The One, dedicated to best-in-class cross-category three-dimensional objects. In Paris, Sotheby’s is joining forces with The Paris Opera and the AROP (Friends of the Paris Opera) for a special benefit auction on 30 January to support, among other things, the production of new shows. The sale will offer works and collectables from all eras and styles, all generously donated by artists, collectors and gallery owners.
January also sees the expansion of Sotheby’s Metaverse, a leading destination for curated digital artworks and collectables, to include a peer-to-peer venue for secondary sales. The launch will see Sotheby’s add a fully on-chain solution in which all peer-to-peer transactions will be executed on the Ethereum and Polygon blockchains, and signals Sotheby’s commitment to the digital art and collectables community.
- Total sales volume for NFTs in 2022 through Sotheby’s platforms increased year-over-year by nearly 25 times, signalling the continued growth opportunities for digital art and collectables.
In February 2023, to commemorate the 21st century’s ‘Jordan Year’ – in reference to the legend’s jersey number – Sotheby’s will present The Dynasty Collection. Comprising 1 Air Jordan from each of Michael Jordan’s 6 ‘Championship Clinching’ NBA Finals games, the unique collection of relics from each of Jordan’s six championships, together offered for private sale, is considered to be the ‘holy grail’ of sneaker collecting. All six Air Jordan sneakers will go on a global tour with stops in London, Hong Kong, Dubai, Monterey and New York amongst others. Later in the year, Sotheby’s will also be celebrating the centenary of the legendary annual 24-hour race at Le Mans in France, with the sale of 24 race cars historically important to the Le Mans race