Just weeks after auction house Christie's announced record profits for first half 2011, Sotheby's announced its own record of $3.4 billion in six months, edging out Christie's $3.2 billion. The houses unanimously credit this boom to growth in Asian markets, particularly China, which has ramped up its participation in the global market at an unprecedented rate this year.
Artinfo quotes Sotheby's CEO Bill Ruprecht, who now sees China as one of "three legs to the stool" of the art market, with the US and the Euro zone.
With the company's increased prosperity, however, has come more demands from its employees; art handlers at Sotheby's New York headquarters were locked out Friday over a contract dispute. According to the Wall Street Journal, "Union President Jason Ide said the company's recent financial success should allow it to avoid asking for concessions." Due to the number of important sales in the imminent fall season, however, Sotheby's has hired temporary replacements until negotiations resume next week.