Art business booms for Christie's

Image caption,
This "blue period" Picasso fetched more than £34m in June

Christie's has said it expects global confidence in the art market to continue as it announced a 46% rise in sales in the first half of 2010.

The auction house said worldwide sales reached £1.71bn ($2.57bn) for the first six months of the year.

Last year's figure for the same period was £1.2bn ($1.8bn).

In May, a Pablo Picasso painting set a new record for the most expensive art work sold at auction, fetching £70m ($106m).

The Spanish artist's 1932 picture Nude, Green Leaves and Bust was sold at Christie's auction house in New York. It had belonged to the late Los Angeles collectors Frances and Sidney Brody since the 1950s.

Another notable sale was a "blue period" Picasso that fetched more than £34m ($54m) when it was sold by the auction house in London in June.

The Portrait of Angel Fernandez de Soto was part of a sale of impressionist and modern art that raised more than £152.5m ($243m) - the highest total in a UK art auction.

Christie's chief executive Edward Dolman said: "Global confidence in the art market has been evident throughout the first half of 2010 and we expect it to continue with our autumn sales.

"Great works continue to inspire and prices demonstrate a sustained commitment to art as a store of value."

Christie's auction house was set up by James Christie in London in 1766. It now has 57 offices in 32 countries, and 10 salesrooms around the world.

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