Paris — Global art sales plunged in 2016 as the number of high-value works sold halved while China regained its status as the world’s top market, Artprice said says in its annual report released on Monday. Art auctions worldwide totalled $12.5bn last year, down 22% from $16.1bn in 2015, it said. The world’s biggest database for art prices and sales, working with Chinese partner Artron, attributed the drop to a plunge in the number of works worth more than $10m from 160 in 2015 to 80 last year. "On all continents sellers are choosing a policy of wait-and-see," said Artprice CEO Thierry Ehrmann. Top-dollar auctions last year included that of an Impressionist painting of a haystack by Claude Monet, "Meule", which went for $81.4m and Peter Paul Rubens masterpiece "Lot and his Daughters" sold for $58.1m. both at Christie’s. Contemporary art had its big moments with an untitled painting by American painter Jean-Michel Basquiat going to a Japanese collector for $57.3m and Wassily Kandinsky...

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