Art and photography market - 2014 auction review

The growth in the art market continued unabated in 2014.

Christie's smashed all records with a phenomenal $852.9m contemporary art evening sale featuring work from big hitters like Jeff Koons and Peter Doig.

This represents a 72.2% increase on the previous record, which was set at $495m at Christie's last year.

If the market continues on its upward trajectory, 2015 could be the year we see the first sale to break $1bn.

Top art sale of 2014

Giacometti Chariot Sotheby's
Giacometti's Chariot was the biggest art sale of 2014

In terms of individual artists, Alberto Giacometti tops the list for sale of the year after his Chariot (1952) sold for $101m at Christie's New York.

This makes it the second most valuable sculpture ever sold.

Important art sales of 2014

Barnett Newman's Black Fire I achieved the second highest sale of the year with $84.1m - doubling the previous record for the artist.

Barnett Newman Black
Barnett Newman's Black Fire I set a new artist record at Christie's

A new record was also set for Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani, whose Tete made $70.7m at Sotheby's New York.

Two major works by Francis Bacon crossed the block, with Portrait of George Dyer Talking selling for $70m and Three Studies for a Portrait of John Edwards making $80.8m - both at Christie's.

While the second work failed to exceed the art world record $145m paid for a Bacon triptych last year, it was a substantial increase on the £3m ($4.4m) paid for the same piece back in 2001.

Andy Warhol cemented his place as one of the highest grossing artists of all time, his Triple Elvis (Ferus Type) achieving $81.9m at Christie's New York.

An untitled painting by Cy Twombly also set a new artist record at $69.6m.

It was a breakout year for…

While the contemporary art market is the engine of the art sector, impressionism remains popular among collectors.

Edouard Manet Le Printemps
Eduard Manet's Le Printemps sold for $65.1m

This year saw Eduard Manet's Le Printemps set a new $65.1m artist record at Christie's - an increase of 86% on the previous record of £22.4m ($35m).

While Manet is credited as being one of the most distinctive and influential painters of his generation, his work has previously been valued well below contemporaries like Monet and Renoir.

His new record indicates a market correction is underway.

It was a year to forget for…

Sotheby's, which lagged behind Christie's in sales throughout the year.  

One you may have missed…

Peter Lik's Phantom became the world's most valuable photograph, selling for $6.5m in a private sale. Commentators were flummoxed due to its distinct resemblance to a default desktop background.

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