Still seeking growth, Phillips posted a 28% gain in Frieze Evening sale totals year over year.
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Phillips Frieze Evening Sale = £25.8m ($21.78m)
Ed Dolman was ebullient. “Up 28% over last year,” the Phillips CEO was exclaiming over the heads of a post-sale gaggle of journalists, his press team, security personnel and Cheyenne Westphal, his most senior business getter and specialist, with an unbridled air of relief.
The palpable sense of uncertainty, even dread, underlying the international art market in the days prior to the opening of Frieze Art Fair yesterday was dispelled by the strong results at both Christie’s Lancaster single-owner sale and Phillips strong £25.8m showing last night.
Although these sales represent low volume by the standards of the international art market, they have shown a depth of global bidding and consigning. Westphal told journalists that a surprising number of the evening’s consignors were from the US. Both Dolman and Westphal remarked upon the strength of consigning from clients in Asia to these London sales. They hinted too that Asian buyers remained a potent force in the market.
Sale room observers were able to see confirmation of the bidding from Asian advisors, including one who underbid works by Derek Fordjour and Sanya Kantarovsky only to go all the way on a Gerhard Richter abstract. That green Richter made a final price of £1.695m. It had been traded on the private art market like a bearer bond with had 11 owners in the last 25 year. That works out to finding a new owner every two years on average.
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