Katya Kazakina profiles the new leadership at Phillips but asks whether this time is really different:
Jean-Paul Engelen quotes the cartoon characters Phineas and Ferb to explain why, after working for Christie’s and the Qatari royal family, he joined the smaller auction house Phillips.
“Dude, we are getting the band back together,” Engelen, Phillips’s new worldwide head of contemporary art, said in an interview, citing the duo who concoct elaborate adventures. “That’s how it feels at Phillips now.” […]
“Would I have come to Phillips five years ago? Absolutely not,” said Engelen, 46, who left Christie’s in 2011 after 16 years to head the public art and exhibition program at Qatar Museums. “At the moment Phillips feels like the most exciting and challenging place to be.”
While a fierce rivalry between Sotheby’s and Christie’s grabs headlines, Phillips has been quietly gaining momentum. Executives said the goal is to boost profit by balancing innovation and expertise in tightly edited categories of 20th and 21st century art and collectibles.
The auction house faces plenty of challenges. “It seemed every few years, Phillips launched some exciting changes, ambitious plans with grand new locations, new partnerships, new strategies, but at the end, it didn’t meet the expectations or goals,” said Grace Rong Li, who advises European and Chinese collectors.
How Those ‘Dudes’ at Phillips Are Revamping the Auction House (Bloomberg Business)