It's been another strong year for the art markets compared to more conventional investments. Whether at Sotheby's, Christie's or China Guardian, there are records continuing to be made and broken.
Those auctioneers tend to concentrate in London, New York and Beijing, though with some sales in Paris too.
The comprehensive and varied international selection offered by Dorotheum, Continental Europe's largest auction house, throughout the year, was likewise received with enthusiasm by art collectors from Austria and all over the globe.
In 2011, Dorotheum was able to continue the series of successes of the previous year, which brought in €7m for a single, record-breaking painting by Frans Franckens alone.
Pride of place among this year's top sellers went to Ilya Kabakov's allusive painting At the University 1972, dating to 2002 and presenting an idealised vision of Russian art history, which was sold to a telephone bidder for €754,800 at the auction on 24th November 2011.
In his painting, the artist, who left Russia for the United States in 1987, combines elements of Socialist Realism with the avant-garde formal vocabulary of Suprematism, Impressionism, and Expressionism.
Yet another Russian artist, Alexej Jawlensky, excelled in the modern art category with his 1907 Wasserburg Landscape, with Buildings and Meadow which sold for excellent €593,000. At the same auction, on 18th May 2011, Alfons Walde's Ascent climbed to €582,300, no mean feat for a painting found in a Danish attic. This also marks a new auction sale record for a work by this artist.
Italian modern and contemporary art proved highly sought-after, including a number of avant-garde and experimental works from the nineteen-sixties (e.g. Enrico Castellani's Superficie Bianca, sold for €467,300, or Emilo Vedova's expressive Ciclo 61N.8, sold for €444,300).
Nineteenth century paintings continue to ride a strong favourable trend: The title lot of this spring auction's international selection, Girl in Lilac Dress, with Bouquet and Basket of Flowers by Eugen von Blaas, rose to an excellent final price of €280,830.
Friedrich Gauermann headed the Austrian art category with views of Salzburg and Lake Attersee (€306,300, €278,000) while, on 11th October 2011, Franz Ludwig Catel's evocative historical painting Stroll through Palermo set a new world record at €306,300.
Lake Attersee was of course the subject of a work by Gustav Klimt which brought over $40m earlier in the year.
The painting depicts prominent personages and members of the Russian imperial family surrounding the wife of Tsar Nikolai I., Alexandra Fedorowna, née Charlotte of Prussia.
Other categories, such as silver, coins, wrist- and pocket watches, were likewise met with strong demand.
Martin Böhm, Dorotheum managing director, expressed his satisfaction with the successes achieved in 2011: "The current art market is very vigorous. Aiming for greater international presence was the right decision and we shall continue our efforts in this direction."
Collectors who like the sound of being part of a vigourous market will be excited to hear that they don't need six and seven figure sums to own something painted by an artistic genius. We are currently offering an original sketch by none other than Salvador Dali from our stock.
We are naturally very confident about the ongoing value of the item, and so it qualifies for our unique 120% guarantee.