Phillips de Pury's Pinched Sale

The Master, Judd Tully, tries to find some action at the Phillips de Pury sale yesterday:

  • Among the few veteran buyers attending the sale, New York art trader Jose Mugrabi bought Tom Wesselmann’s 1972 Study for Pat Nude, a 22-by-30-inch oil on canvas, estimated at £150-200,000 ($226,000–301,600), for a spare £159,650 ($240,800). Buttonholed moments before the dreary sale began, Mugrabi philosophized about the current state of the market and mentioned several purchases he made at Sotheby’s Monday evening sale, which netted £41 million ($61.82 million), a haul that now seems gigantic. “I paid $1.3 million for a little bit of a Basquiat,” he said. “It was nothing special. It’s impossible to do a better sale with all this kind of mediocre material.”
  • On the positive side, two artist records were set, including one for Ugo Rondinone, whose 2006 cast aluminum and white enamel tree, air/get/into/everything/even/nothing, one from an edition of three plus two artist’s proofs, sold to a telephone bidder for £361,250 (est. £200-300,000, or $301,600–452,400). New York art advisor Kim Hierston, bidding in person, was the underbidder. It broke the artist record set at Sotheby’s London in February 2009 when Rondinone’s 2003 No. 299 made £253,250. […] Hierston had better luck with Anselm Reyle’s untitled 2006 work, made of acrylic, silver, PVC, foil, and canvas, which she grabbed for £99,650 ($150,300) on an estimate of £70-90,000 ($105,600–135,700).

Phillips Suffers a Brutal Contemporary Art Sale, with Nearly Half of Its Lots Failing (