It’s been more than four years since Phillips handed over their auction rooms to Philippe Ségalot to organize his own sale, one of the largest and most successful Contemporary Evening sales in the auction house’s history. Although the firm has been sold since then and is now on its second CEO, Phillips seems to be returning to that strategy.
Today, The Art Newspaper reports that Francesco Bonami is organizing a sale of Italian art at Phillips in New York at the end of April.
Around 50 works created over the past 100 years are due to go under the hammer, but Arte Povera, one of the best-known movements to come out of the country in the past century, will not take centre stage. Instead, Bonami will focus on less well-known artists, in a similar vein to the exhibition he organised at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice in 2008, “Italics”, which shifted the focus from Arte Povera and Transavanguardia artists to those who had been side-lined by traditional readings of Modern and contemporary Italian art. “The idea is to open up the view of Italian art beyond the household names,” Bonami says.
The Phillips sale, billed as the first major Italian auction in New York, will feature works by artists including Paola Pivi, Roberto Cuoghi and Maurizio Cattelan—who is perhaps the biggest name on the block.
From The Art Newspaper’s description, though, this seems hardly like a sale that is going to flatter the market and buyers.
New York’s first Italian sale to look beyond Arte Povera (The Art Newspaper)