Gerhard Richter’s Düsenjäger (1963) is back on the market after a brief dalliance with an over-confident Chinese guarantor. The work was sold by collector Paul Allen in November of 2016 to Zhang Chang who had provide a third-party guarantee at $24m. Zhang would not or could not pay for work. Now Phillips is bringing the major work in Richter’s oeuvre back to market with an estimate £10-15m, almost the same estimate it carried nearly a dozen years ago when it sold to Allen in November 2007.
The work comes to market amid rumblings within the art market that the third-party guarantee system has gotten over-extended in both the number of works that it covers and the number of buyers that participate. Questions remain—that will only be answered in sales to come this year—whether there are more dis-illusioned guarantors out there burned by the failure of works to find buyers. Are these guarantors sufficiently put off to retreat from the guarantee market?
In the meantime, Phillips has more than one noted German artist in their London sale. Martin Kippenberger’s Ohne Titel (Meine lügen sind ehrliche) (1992) (£3.5-4.5m) leads the sale along with another self-portrait the artist. In between the Kippenberger and the Richter is an example of Roy Lichtenstein’s enamel, Girl in Mirror (1964) with an estimate of £4.5-6.5m. The Lichtenstein enamel is an editioned work with eight examples and two artist’s proofs.
The Lichtenstein is guaranteed by Phillips. The example on offer was bought at the sale of Max Palevsky’s at Christie’s in 2010 where the buyer paid $4.89m. Four years later, another example of the work was sold at Christie’s for $6.885m. Over at Sotheby’s, the work has had its day in the sun too. One sold in 2007 for $4m in New York. Another sold in London in 2012 for nearly £2.4m.