LONDON, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- Christie's saw an increasing global appeal of art in 2012, with post-war and contemporary art most welcomed by collectors.
The company released its annual sales figures on Thursday. Its worldwide sales stood at 3.92 billion pounds (6.27 billion U.S. dollars), up 10 percent on 2011.
It includes private sales of 631.3 million pounds (1 billion U.S. dollars), a rise of 26 percent on the same period last year, and represents the highest annual total in both company and art market history.
"Our third straight year of record results is a sign that more people in more places in the world are captivated by art and are seeking to acquire it, and Christie's has aligned itself with collectors and their needs," said Steven P. Murphy, Chief Executive Officer of Christie's.
"More importantly, this trend is apparent at every level of the art market, from under 1,000 pounds to over 50 million, as technological advancements highlight the appeal and the ease of engaging with Christie's and the works of art we handle," he added.
The company sold 686 works at auction for over 1 million U.S. dollars, and 49 for over 10 million U.S. dollars.
Topping the auction list was an oil painting Orange, Red, Yellow by Mark Rothko in 1961, which was sold at a staggering 86.9 million U.S. Dollars in New York, setting a world auction record for contemporary work of art.
Post-war and contemporary art led the categories with record auction sales of 986.5 million pounds (1.6 billion U.S. dollars), a 34 percent increase over 2011. The category saw increased demand at every level, with a 14 percent growth in the number of registered bidders for works of art under 100,000 pounds.
Impressionist and modern art and old masters and 19th century art still saw notable increases.
The auctioned lot listed with second-highest price was famous painting Nympheas from French impressionist Claude Monet, which raked in 43.7 million U.S. dollars. Price of the Lock from British romantic painter John Constable reached 35.2 million U.S. dollars, world record price for the artist at auction.
Most of the buyers were from Europe and the United States, who accounted for 75 percent of sale registration. Sale totals for Asian art and auction sales in Hong Kong decreased from the record levels of 2011.
But online sales gave accessibility to more potential bidders worldwide. Global auctions last year welcomed bidders from 136 countries highlighting the international appeal of art. About 19 percent of all registered bidders were new clients.
Following its first online-only auction with Elizabeth Taylor collections in December 2011, Christie's launched six such auctions last year. Its website attracted an 11 percent increase in visitors from previous year.
"Accessibility to the market is key and we have continued to develop our online presence," Murphy said.
"As the desire for collecting continues to grow, we are pleased to have welcomed new clients into the market, and to have achieved industry-leading results across the globe from Paris to New York and London to Hong Kong," he said.