The works of great artists buoyed the art market last year, and none did more than Leonardo da Vinci, whose Salvator Mundi sold to great fanfare for $450-million (about R5.3-billion) in New York in November. Global art sales grew 12% to about $63.7-billion after two years of falling sales, said a new report published by UBS and Art Basel. That still fell short of the record of more than $68-billion set in 2014 and below the $66-billion fetched in 2007 before the art market plummeted in the financial crisis. "Industry-wide gains were driven by sales at the top end of the market," said cultural economist Clare McAndrew, who wrote the report. Over the past decade, auction sales have fallen for works priced under $1-million, making investment purchases a risky bet for the lower- and middle-price segments. But purchases of ultra-expensive artworks soared in value, with the study finding a 148% increase in total sales value of works sold for more than $10-million at auction over the past ...

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