Kelly Crow identifies the seller of Warhol’s Liz #5 at Phillips de Pury as collector Steven Cohen who owns–or recently bought–a number of important Warhol paintings. He bought Stefan Edlis’s Turquoise Marilyn several years ago for a guesstimated $80 million and a Coke bottle recently at Sotheby’s.
That Cohen is selling is less interesting than the fact that he is selling it through Phillips de Pury. Sotheby’s management went to great lengths in recent years to create a closer relationship with Cohen during the period when he had made a substantial investment in Sotheby’s stock.
Cohen is also on the short list of persons who are reputed to offer third-party guarantees on high-value works. But, in this case, Crow reports that Cohen has received a financial backstop from another party through Phillips:
The auction house has tried to leave as little as possible to chance. It has arranged for outside investors to guarantee Mr. Cohen an undisclosed price for the painting unless another bidder offers even more during the auction—an arrangement called a third-party guarantee.
Naturally, this raises a simple question about Phillips de Pury in the wake of their success with Philippe Ségalot’s overwhelmingly successful Carte Blanche sale. Is this consignment a product of that success and an indication of a further change in Phillips de Pury’s business practices?
Liz Taylor Portrait to Go on the Block for $20 Million (Wall Street Journal)