The Master, Judd Tully, is having a busy month as he makes the rounds of London and Paris. Here’s his take on Phillips de Pury’s London Frieze sale, an event that hasn’t gotten the most attention. Here Tully ferrets out the Basquiat buyer and his story:
Top lot honors went to Jean-Michel Basquiat’s uncharacteristically sedate triptych Year of the Board (1983) (est. £900,000–1.2 million) that attracted at least five bidders and sold for £1,105,250 ($1,805,083). The underbidder was the London/Milan financierMoz Fabris , new on the evening auction scene. Fabris explained that he came to the preview with a friend “for a quick glass of champagne,” and then saw the Basquiat. “I never went to this level before,” Fabris said moments after battle for the picture. Fabris did nab the cover lot, Lucio Fontana’s ovoid Concetto Spaziale (1958-60) (est. £250–350,000), for £241,250 ($394,007). “It was my backup,” he explained.
Tully has the scorecard on the rest of the sale too:
Given the excitement over the Kippenbergers at Christie’s, the batch at Phillips from the Bleich-Rossi collection had bumpier results. The 1984 canvas Big Until Great Hunger (est. £400–600,000), set in the artist’s frame, sold to the New York gallery Pablo’s Birthday for £433,250 ($707,580). […] Steven Parrino’s creased and gathered canvas in enamel and gesso, Sin City Sag. Fuckhead Bubble-Gum (1992) (est. £300–400,000), sold for £313,250 ($511,597), and a kneeling figure by auction newcomer Margherita Manzelli, Verifica del funzionamento-spazio vuoto (1997), in oil on canvas (est. £80–120,000) sold for a surprisingly sizzling £151,250 ($247,020). […] Competition was also fierce for Dan Colen’s painting Untitled (Bird Shit) (2007) (est. £25–35,000), and won by a telephone bidder for £49,250 ($80,434). The Los Angeles and Berlin dealer Javier Peres was the underbidder.
Signs of a Recovery at London Postwar Auctions (ArtInfo.com)