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Rise in modern art prices fueled by emerging markets

An explosive growth in modern art prices, driven by collectors in emerging markets, can be seen at auctions Monday and Tuesday at Christie's auction house in New York.
By Ed Adamczyk Follow @adamczyk_ed Contact the Author   |   May 13, 2014 at 3:18 PM

NEW YORK, May 13 (UPI) -- A highly-anticipated modern art auction in New York Tuesday evening follows one Monday at which $134.6 million of art was sold in one hour.

The rise in value of modern art, seen in auctions such as the auction house Christie's on Monday -- where buyers from 26 countries bid on contemporary works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jeff Koons and Richard Prince -- can be attributed to buyers from emerging markets.

"The number of people around the world interested in acquiring art at all levels is exploding," said Steven Murphy, Christie's chief executive officer.

Added Viola Raikhel-Bolot of the global advisory firm 1858 Ltd Art Advisory, "Collectors from Latin America and Asia frequent the galleries here (New York) and follow these sales very closely."

Global sales of fine art grew 7.5 percent in 2013 to $65.5 billion, the annual report of the European Fine Art Fair said. Christie's sales figure for 2013 was over $7 billion -- its record broken for the fourth consecutive year.

Tuesday evening's auction, titled "Post-war Masters and Contemporary Evening Sale," will include a Gerhard Richter work which Christie's values between $22 million and $28 million; a Francis Bacon work valued at around $80 million; and one by Mark Rothko whose estimated value is between $40 and $60 million.

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