A visitor walks past an art installation on display at the Clearing Gallery during Art Basel Miami Beach in Miami. (Photographer: Scott McIntyre/Bloomberg)

Global Art Sales Rise to $63.7 Billion as Wealthy Chase Trophies

(Bloomberg) -- The global art market bounced back in 2017 after two years of declining sales, climbing 12 percent to $63.7 billion as the wealthy chased after trophy works by a handful of well-known artists.

Led by Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi,” which sold for $450 million in November, the high-end of the market accounted for most of the gains while results in other segments were mixed, according to the Art Market 2018 report by UBS Group AG and Art Basel.

The U.S. represented the largest marketplace, with 42 percent of sales by value, followed by China at 21 percent and the U.K with 20 percent. Last year’s total fell short of the 2014 peak, when sales reached $68 billion.

Public auctions accounted for $28.5 billion of the total, up 27 percent from 2016, but short of the $32.9 million in 2007. The report, prepared by economist Clare McAndrew, identified 52,105 artists with sales at auction in 2017. Those whose pieces sold for more than $10 million accounted for 0.2 percent of the pool. Works that sold for more than $1 million accounted for 64 percent of sales, while representing just 1 percent of transactions.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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