We’ve reached a stage in the current Contemporary art market where a number of works are returning to the auction block after only a few years in private hands. Christie’s has Andy Warhol’s Four Marilyns which sold at Phillips two and a half years ago for nearly $40m and is now guaranteed at Christie’s with an unpublished estimate said to be around $40m.
At Phillips, we have this Maurizio Cattelan sculpture, Frank and Jamie that sold twice at Christie’s in the last five years, according to Artnet’s database. The first sale was in London in June 2010 when Gagosian gallery bought the work for $1.5m for a client. Six months later, that price was confirmed when another edition of the work sold for $1.6m at Phillips in New York.
Phillips followed up that success with a much stronger sale a year later for yet another edition of the work, there are three and an artist’s proof, hit $2.3m.
That sale brought this work back to the block two years later. But the results were not so good. The work bought for $1.5m only brought $965,000, netting the seller a substantial loss.
In the meantime, the Cattelan has been fairly quiet. Maybe that’s about to change. Phillips is offering the work for $1-1.5m but it already has a third party guarantee suggesting there’s an eager buyer but the seller senses hidden demand. For Phillips it is a no-lose situation. For Cattelan owners, it’s a good bellwether for the artist’s market.