Photo Courtesy of Christie’s

While many industries are either slumping or struggling to maintain this year, the demand for high-end artwork is doing phenomenally well in 2011. Auctioneer Christie’s announced that its worldwide sales for the first half reached $3.2 billion. This represents an increase of ten percent globally for the same time period in 2010.

An analysis of the sales indicates that several prevalent factors were significant in the renowned auction house achieving these stupendous results. More collectors than previous years are bidding on the most expensive pieces available. There also was a 30 percent rise in the overall number of lots sold for the same time last year.

Art priced between $815,000 and $1.6 million had an average sell-through rate in excess of 90 percent. Additionally, Christie’s sold eight of the top ten lots auctioned in the public marketplace, reporting sales of more than $20 million. The auctioneer also sold 376 lots for more than $1 million at auctions. Eighty percent of the top-selling lots were attributed to Christie’s at the midyear point as well. While 78 percent of new clients come from Continental Europe, the UK, and the US, Asia remains in first place as the top emerging market.

Top 10 lots sold through first-half 2011 by Christie’s

1. $38,442,500: Andy Warhol, Self-Portrait, 1963-1964 New York; May 11.

2. $33,682,500: Mark Rothko, Untitled No. 17, 1961 New York; May 11 .

3. $29,133,148: Pablo Picasso, Femme assise, robe bleue 1939, King Street; June 21.

4. $28,666,155: Francis Bacon, Study for a Portrait, 1953, King Street; June 28.

5. $27,522,500: Andy Warhol, Self-Portrait, 1986 , New York; May 11.

6. $25,282,500: Francis Bacon, Three Studies for Self- Portrait, 1974, New York; May 11

7. $22,482,500: Claude Monet, Les Peupliers, 1891, New York; May 4.

8. $22,482,500: Maurice de Vlaminck, Paysage de banlieue, 1905, New York; May 4.

9. $21,866,588: Pablo Picasso, Picasso, Jeune fille endormie, 1935, King Street; June 21. (pictured above)

10. $21,362,500: Pablo Picasso, Les femmes d’Alger, version L, 1955