The Market Goes Deep in London

Judd Tully gives a little depth on Phillips de Pury’s £5.7m London sale:

Only one work sold for over a million pounds and that was Lucio Fontana’s slashed canvas “Concetto Spaziale, Attese” in virginal white from 1960, which sold to an anonymous telephone bidder for a little over £1 million ($1.7 million) (est. £1-1.5 million/$1.6-$2.4 million). The most remarkable thing about the Fontana is that it was once owned by Andy Warhol and sold back at Sotheby’s New York in May 1987, shortly after the artist’s death following gallbladder surgery for a minute $132,000 figure.

Meanwhile, Scott Reyburn gets this eyebrow-raising quote:
“Prices are strong,” the Paris-based collector John Sayegh- Belchatowski said. “The market is deep, not like the fantasy of 2007,” said Sayegh-Belchatowski, who was outbid on the two lots he hoped to buy.

Mugrabis Buying and Selling at Phillips de Pury

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)

Third-Party Guarantees Carry Phillips de Pury to a $71.3 Million Contemporary Art Sale (Artinfo)

Phillips de Pury NY Cont Eve = $71.3m

$71,292,500 with 85% of the lots sold

  1. CY TWOMBLY, Untitled,$9,042,500
  2. ANDY WARHOL, Nine Gold Marilyns (Reversal Series), $7,922,500
  3. RICHARD PRINCE, Runaway Nurse, $6,802,500
  4. ALEXANDER CALDER, Trepied, $5,682,500
  5. ANDY WARHOL, Self-Portrait, $4,002,500
  6. WILLEM DE KOONING, Untitled XVIII, $3,442,500
  7. ANDY WARHOL, Knives, $3,442,500
  8. RICHARD SERRA, Palms, $2,322,500
  9. MAURIZIO CATTELAN, Frank and Jamie, $2,322,500
  10. CHRISTOPHER WOOL, Untitled (P 177), $2,210,500              


Phillips de Pury London Contemporary Evening =£8.25m

$12.9m with 66% of lots sold

  1. JEFF KOONS, Seal Walrus Trashcans, £2,113,250/$3,319,916
  2. DAMIEN HIRST, Observation – The Crown of Justice, £780,450/$1,226,087
  3. DAMIEN HIRST, 5-Aminouracil, £690,850/$1,085,325
  4. ANSELM KIEFER, Die Argonauten, £601,250/$944,564
  5. RICHARD PRINCE, My Life as a Weapon, £541,250/$850,304
  6. THOMAS SCHÜTTE, United Enemy, £481,250/$756,044
  7. CECILY BROWN,Park, £421,250/$661,784
  8. MAURIZIO CATTELAN,Turisti, £385,250/$605,228
  9. STEVEN PARRINO, Creeping Eye, £361,250/$567,524
  10. CECILY BROWN, The Torment of St. Anthony, £265,250/$416,708

Phillips de Pury NY Photography = $6.9m

Phillips de Pury had a strong photography sale in New York today comprising 272 lots, 82% sold by lot totaling $6,929,250 (including premium).
  1. Lot 56 Richard AvedonThe Beatles Portfolio: John Lennon, Ringo Starr, George Harrison and Paul McCartney, musicians, London, 1967, $722,500
  2. Lot 221 Nadar (Gaspard Félix) and Adrien Tournachon, Pierrot with Fruit, 1854-1855, $542,500
  3. Lot 226 Man Ray, Untitled (Self-portrait of Man Ray), 1933, $398,500
  4. Lot 32 Irving Penn, Black and White Vogue Cover (Jean Patchett), New York, 1950, $374,500
  5. Lot 251 Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe: A Portrait, 1935, $146,500
  6. Lot 140 Bernd & Hilla Becher, Cooling Towers, Ruhr District, 1983, $140,500
  7. Lot 73 Man Ray, Torso, 1930, $134,500
  8. Lot 46 Candida Höfer, Handelingenkamer Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal Den Haag III, 2004, $104,500
  9. Lot 141 Richard Avedon, Nastassja Kinski and the Serpent, 14 June, 1981, $98,500
  10. Lot 66 Robert Mapplethorpe, Calla Lily, 1987, $86,500
Sales highlights include Nadar (Gaspard Félix) and Adrien Tournachon’s Pierrot with Fruit, 1854-1855, which brought $542,500 and set a world auction record for the fraternal duo as well as Nadar; Richard Avedon’s The Beatles Portfolio: John Lennon, Ringo Starr, George Harrison and Paul McCartney, musicians, London, 1967, which brought $722,500, becoming the second-highest price ever achieved for a work by Avedon at auction as well as a world auction record for the portfolio; Man Ray’s Untitled (Self-portrait of Man Ray), 1933, which brought $398,500, more than tripling the presale high estimate; and Candida Höfer’s Handelingenkamer Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal Den Haag III, 2004, which sold for $104,500 and set a new world auction record for the Libraries series by the artist.


Phillips London 20th C Design = £2.05m

£2,052,525 / $3,197,834 (including premium) selling 74% by lot


  1. Hans CoperSwinton School Wall Mural               £181,250/$282,388
  2. Marc Newson, ‘Black Hole Chop Top’ table £99,650/$155,255
  3. Jean RoyèreUnique ‘Orly’ armchair      £75,650/$117,863
  4. Charlotte Perriand and Jean Prouvé, Bibliothèque, from La Maison du Mexique, Cité Universitaire, Paris £73,250/$114,124 
  5. Le Corbusier and B. Doshi, Large and rare table, from the Institute of Indology, Ahmedabad, India £69,650/$108,515
  6. Hans Coper, White ‘Cycladic’ Arrow form with disc-top £63,650/$99,167
  7. Venini, Rare large chandelier £58,850/$91,688
  8. Hans Coper, White ‘Cycladic’ arrow form £49,250/$76,732
  9. Zaha Hadid, White ‘Aqua’ table £49,250/$76,732
  10. Hans CoperWhite cup on foot with central disc £43,250/$67,384



Hans Coper, White ‘Cycladic’ arrow form               £49,250/$99,167

Lucie Rie and Hans Coper, Set of six dishes with white spiral £8,750/$13,633

Hans CoperSwinton School Wall Mural               £181,250/$282,388

Le Corbusier and B. Doshi, Large and rare table, from the Institute of Indology, Ahmedabad, India £69,650/$108,515

Edmund de WaalSet of three teapots £11,250/$17,528

Paolo BuffaRare Cabinet £27,500/$42,845

Osvaldo Borsani and Arnaldo PomodoroRare bed, model no. 8604 £32,450/$50,557

Basquiat Up 5x on Guarantee at PdP

The Basquiat sold at Phillips de Pury last night increased five-f0ld in price over 8 years. Unfortunately, the price was set by a third-party guarantor who won the lot:

The Basquiat, dating from 1985 and featuring a half-length self-portrait next to a wooden panel covered in bottle tops, fetched 2.1 million pounds ($3.4 million) at Phillips de Pury & Co.’s first contemporary sale at Claridge’s in Mayfair. The price was five times the $647,500 it fetched at Phillips de Pury, New York, in 2003. […] The Basquiat was one of five works with minimum bids by third party guarantors. It fell to the guarantor, bidding by phone, for slightly more than the 2-million-pound low estimate.

Basquiat’s Price Soars Fivefold as $320 Million Auctions Start in London (Bloomberg)


Phillips de Pury London Cont Eve 6/11 = £11.2

$17.9m with 87% of the 34 lots sold

Top Ten lots

  1. JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT Self-Portrait, £2,057,250/$3,246,690
  2. MARK TANSEY, Library (of Babylon) £1,161,250/$1,822,050
  3. BEATRIZ MILHAZES, O Moderno £713,250/$1,109,730
  4. DAMIEN HIRST, Confession £690,850/$1,074,114
  5. URS FISCHER, Thank You Fuck You, £657,250/$1,020,690
  6. RUDOLPH STINGEL, Untitled, £657,250/$1,020,690
  7. JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT, Untitled £577,250/$896,034
  8. UGO RONDINONE, Get up girl a sun is running the world, £541,250/$842,610
  9. CECILY BROWN, I Will Not Paint Any More Boring Leaves (2), £529,250/$841,508
  10. MARINO MARINI, Cavallo, £421,250/$669,788

The Milhazes and Rondinone were records for the artist.