Scott Reyburn from Bloomberg delves into the disappointing results for Martin Kippenberger works at Phillips on Saturday. Jose Mugrabi has a simple explanation:
Two large-scale paintings by Kippenberger — whose “Paris Bar” sold for a double-estimate 2.3 million pounds at Christie’s the previous evening — had been entered by his former Austrian-based dealer, Gabriella Bleich-Rossi.
The 1984 oil-and-silicone-on-canvas painting of a modernist sculpture, “Big Until Great Hunger,” sold in the room to the New York dealership Pablo’s Birthday for 433,250 pounds, just above the low estimate. Kippenberger’s 1987 triptych portrait of his friend, the Graz cafe waiter Herr Joszi, failed to sell against a low estimate of 350,000 pounds. A rubber balloon sculpture and an amber-colored abstract by the artist, each expected to fetch more than 100,000 pounds, also failed to sell.
“Kippenberger was very much up and down in quality,” said the New York collector Jose Mugrabi. “If something is good, buyers will jump at it,” he said, referring to the price achieved for “Paris Bar” the day before. “When there is nothing special, there are no buyers.”