There’s a bit of Rashomon in the press over last night’s sale at Phillips de Pury. Depending upon whom you’re reading the sale was either a sign that Phillips had made its way into the first rank of Contemporary art auctioneers or the sale was a “tepid affair.”
Carol Vogel has the dealer gossip fingering the Mugrabi family as the source of much of the guaranteed work at Phillips de Pury:
Of the lots that made up Monday night’s sale, 18, or about 40 percent, had some kind of financing, according to the catalog. A large number of these works, several dealers in the contemporary art world said, were being sold by Jose Mugrabi, the New York dealer, who has done a lot of business with Phillips in the past. Most were bought by auction house representatives bidding on behalf of telephone bidders
Judd Tully watched as Mugrabi’s son, Alberto, bought up a few new items:
A trio of Christopher Wool paintings from an American collection found solid reception, led by the densely patterned, ink-blot-branded “Untitled (P177)” from 1993 that sold for $2,210,500 (est. $1.2-1.8 million). New York dealer Stellan Holm was the underbidder. The other two Wool entries, also painted on aluminum panels, were snared by New York dealer Alberto Mugrabi, who nabbed the earlier “Untitled (P63)” from 1988 for $842,500 (est. $700,000-900,000) and “Untitled (P71)” from the same year for $1,370,500 (est. $1-1.5 million).
$71 Million in Art Is Sold at Phillips, Near Low Estimate (New York Times)