One of the questions about the new art market that began with 2009 was whether dramatically lower prices would attract new buyers into the fray. The Master, Judd Tully, addresses this very question in his report from Phillips de Pury’s Evening sale:
The top-lot honor was shared by Yayoi Kusama’s densely abstract, 76 1/4 by 102 inch Infinity Nets (T.W.A.) from 2000, which sold to Paris collector Marc Simoncini for $842,500. […] Simoncini, the buyer of the Kusama (hoisting paddle #17), came back to nab Ed Ruscha’s small acrylic-on-canvas Mean as Hell from 2002 (est. $400–600,000), for $590,500.
Button-holed outside the salesroom minutes after his twin purchases, Simoncini said he was new to the auction action, having recently bought his first works: Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Year of the Boar from 1983 for £950,000 ($1.58 million) hammer at Phillips de Pury’s October sale in London, and an On Kawara at Christie’s day sale yesterday. He said he was pleased with his purchases, then left with New York dealer José Martos.
Phillips de Pury Makes Its (Small) Mark (ArtInfo)