CDK Dancers Deliver a Mesmerizing ’70s Inspired Performance to Gotye’s Iconic 2010s Hit
March 6, 2024
Eight artists and curators receive Canada’s Governor General’s Award
March 6, 2024
CDK Dancers Deliver a Mesmerizing ’70s Inspired Performance to Gotye’s Iconic 2010s Hit
March 6, 2024
Eight artists and curators receive Canada’s Governor General’s Award
March 6, 2024

Phillips’s evening sale of 20th-century and contemporary art was held in the afternoon in London on Thursday (7 March), seemingly to help ease the jam-packed schedule of auctions taking place in the British capital this week. As a whole, the sale brought in £10.9m before accounting for fees, just below the low end of the auction house’s estimates. The same sale last year fetched nearly double, £20.3m (with fees).

Phillips expected this year’s auction to bring in between £11.7m and £16.4m after three lots were pulled, two before the beginning of the sale and a work by German artist Martin Kippenberger after the auction began. The two paintings withdrawn before the sale were La petite pêcheuse (1879) by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, which had been estimated to sell for between £900,000 and £1.2m, and an untitled Wade Guyton with an £800,000 to £1m estimate.

The auction started out strong with the first lot, Alia Ahmad’s sprawling Malga – The Place In Which We Gather (2022), selling for £80,000 (£101,600 with fees), four times the low-end of the work’s estimate. Reading Menus (2021) by Jonathan Gardner fetched £100,000 (£127,000 with fees), just meeting its low estimate. Demand picked up again for an untitled 2020 landscape painting by the Brazilian artist Marina Perez Simão, which doubled its low estimate to reach a hammer price of £120,000 (£152,400 with fees). Mediterraneo (2008) by late Italian artist Salvo also exceeded expectations when it sold for £290,000 (£368,300 with fees).

The sale’s top lot was Andy Warhol’s Portrait of Princess Diana (1982), completed the year after its subject married into the royal family. After about four minutes of steady bidding, the canvas surpassed its £1.8m high estimate and sold for £1.9m (£2.4m with fees). Olivia Thornton, Phillips’s head of 20th century and contemporary art in Europe said in a statement that the result marks an auction record for a portrayal of the late royal by Warhol.

Andy Warhol’s Portrait of Princess Diana (1982)

While Cecily Brown’s fleshy Luck Just Kissed You Hello (2013) had one of the sale’s highest estimates, the painting’s final price fell short of its £1.5m low estimate. After only about a minute of bidding, the painting sold for £1.2m (£1.5m with fees). The lot with the highest estimate was INFINITY-NETS (ZXSSAO) (2008) by Yayoi Kusama, which despite several minutes of competitive bidding sold with a hammer price of £1.7m (£2.1m with fees), just below its low estimate of £1.8m.

In spite of some disappointing results, Phillips notched several new auction records for artists over the course of the afternoon. Los Angeles-based painter Jesse Mockrin’s Cymbal Crashed and Roaring Horns (2017) doubled the low-end of its estimate range when it fetched £95,000 (£120,650 with fees), setting an auction record for the artist.

The sale set another artist auction record when Kehinde Wiley’s Christian Martyr Tarcisius (2008) fetched £520,000 (£660,400 with fees), well ahead of its £300,000 high estimate. An untitled painting by Jordan Wolfson from 2018 came within a whisker of setting a new auction record for the American artist when it sold for £155,000 (£196,850 with fees), but due to conversion rates it fell just short of surpassing his secondary-market record.

Kehinde Wiley’s Christian Martyr Tarcisius (2008)

Sigmar Polke’s Silberner Zwilling (1975) fetched £600,000 (£762,000 with fees) and Reggie Burrows Hodges’s Single Source (2019) sold for £230,000 (£292,100 with fees). Both were backed by house guarantees.

Buste aux envols (1972), one of Jean Dubuffet’s painted sculptures, sold for £350,000 (£444,500 with fees), while Barbara Hepworth’s Four Figures Waiting (1968) fetched a winning bid of £300,000 (£381,000) from a client online. Keri On (2009) by Mickalene Thomas brought in £160,000 (£203,200 with fees) and Alighiero Boetti’s Aerei (1988), a ballpoint pen drawing of a swarm of airplanes, sold for £200,000 (£254,000). All four works were backed by third parties.

“We are proud of this result, falling comfortably within estimate,” Thornton said after the sale, referring to the sale’s total including fees (auction houses’ estimates do not factor in fees). “Bidding activity transcended borders, with participants from 31 countries driving spirited bidding in the room, over the phones and online. We eagerly anticipate our forthcoming auction in New York this May.”

Auctions this week in London got off to a tepid start, with Sotheby’s Modern and contemporary evening sale bringing in £82.2m (£99.7m with fees) on Wednesday, which while within the auction house’s revised estimate of £74.8m to £106.5m, was still about 40% less than the total for the same sale last year. After Phillips’s sale concluded, bidders’ attentions shifted a few blocks south to King Street, where Christie’s conducted its marquee auctions of Surrealist, 20th and 21st century art on Thursday evening.

First appeared on…

Comments are closed.