Phillips has announced the appointment of Jonathan Crockett to serve as Chairman of Asia as the company confirms strategy for further growth in the region. Crockett, who has been with the auction house since 2016 and led the firm’s growth across Asia took part in establishing the company’s Hong Kong headquarters, overseeing the region’s expansion across 8 sale sites during his tenure. The executive has a number of successful Hong Kong sales under his direction, including a high grossing year in 2019 in Asia with a total of HK $955 million, a 77% increase since his start as Deputy Chairman in 2016.
“We have witnessed the extraordinary growth of Asia in recent years, both in terms of the success of our Hong Kong sales and significant increase in Asia’s contribution to our global sales” Phillips Chief Executive Officer, Edward Dolman noted, adding Crockett will also assume a critical role in developing the firm’s “cross-category approach” deployed to target a wide client base across Asia.
Phillips confirmed Crockett’s new role will also include developing the firm’s brand presence and strategic partnerships throughout Asia. “In his new role, he will partner with Phillips senior executives across all regions to build our sales and global presence, and continue to further develop the company’s overall growth strategy for Asia,” Dolman said. Prior to his role as Deputy Chairman, Crockett served as Contemporary Asian Art senior specialist in Sotheby’s London from 2013-2015.
In addition to leading Phillips Hong Kong to new highs in recent reasons, Crockett has a number of milestone contemporary art consignments sold globally under his belt. He oversaw the sale of Zao Wou-ki’s 04.01.79, which sold in May 2018 for HK$ 69.9 million (US$ 8.9 million) and brought Peter Doig’s Rosedale from 1991 to the block at Phillips’s May 2017 contemporary evening sale. That work set a new record for the artist when it realize a price of $28.8 million.
Phillips reported the region’s transactional activity has seen a 195% increase from 2016 to 2019. According to the 2019 UBS Art Basel reported China has sustained a market share of 18% and total estimated $11.7B in sales revenue. 2019 saw several new art fairs established in the region, including Taipei Dangdai, S.E.A. Focus in Singapore, Art, Moments Jakarta, and Nanjing International Art Fair. Yet despite its stability, the drastic shift in the market towards virtual buying amid the coronavirus pandemic has posed new challenges in the region. The global art market report’s analysis on the online trends across top markets found that collectors surveyed in Asia were inclined towards more traditional collecting methods, and least preferred transacting online in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore compared to Western countries.