Robin Pogrebin’s Inside Art column in the New York Times opens tonight with an odd item that seems to reveal more than the usual business competition between Christie’s and Phillips.
Ed Dolman is now CEO of Phillips. He used to be CEO of Christie’s. Dolman continues to hire staff to expand directly from Christie’s.
On Wednesday evening, Kelly Crow revealed in The Wall Street Journal that the consignor of Christie’s Postwar and Contemporary Art Evening sale cover lot—Andy Warhol’s Four Marilyns—was Kemal Cingillioglu.
That information could have come from trade sources. It could have come from Phillips.
Now Pogrebin adds some details on the painting’s provenance from the last time the painting was sold, just two years ago.
The hammer did come down on that work at Phillips in 2013 — and was the cover of one of that auction house’s catalogs — and the winning bidder was Gagosian Gallery, on behalf of a client on the phone who, it turns out, was the Russian collector Mikhail Fridman.
But the sale did not last long; the painting was privately sold just eight months ago by Phillips to the collector Kemal Has Cingillioglu, son of the Turkish financier Halit Cingillioglu, for $44 million. And Mr. Cingillioglu has now flipped the work to sell at Christie’s, where it is estimated at $40 million to $60 million and has been guaranteed by the auction house.
Why repeat the cover of a catalog? “It’s a great painting, and it was totally undersold the last time,” said Brett Gorvy, Christie’s worldwide chairman of postwar and contemporary art.
Is that quote from Gorvy a way to publicly answer potential buyer’s doubts about the work at Phillips expense or a rare on-the-record confirmation that tensions between the two houses are reaching a boiling point?
‘Four Marilyns’ Is Back on the Auction Block (The New York Times)