In addition to two major lots slated for Phillips marquee evening sales—one by Jean-Michel Basquiat and one by Joan Mitchell—each valued in excess of $10 million, the firm will also offer a number of works by young primary market darlings, who have seen recent market spikes at auction in their Contemporary day sale, which will be open to bidders across two sessions starting at 11am on July 2.
Irish painter, Genieve Figgis, whose Sunday ladies will be on offer at an estimate valued of $50,000 to $70,000, is among those darlings. Figgis has gained traction for her works that reek of the macabre. New to the market, Sunday ladies, a picture completed between 2016 and 2017 was purchased by the seller in the artist’s solo survey What we do in the shadows at Almine Rech’s Brussel’s location in June 2017.
In recent auction sales, Figgis has seen strong results. In a Christie’s contemporary sale in February this year, her 17th Century Family from 2018 sold for £125,000 more than five times its low estimate of £20,000; at Sotheby’s the same month Boat Trip brought in £81,250, making four times its low estimate of £20,000; and in December 2019 in Sotheby’s The Hoarder sale, her painting King and Queen drew 66 bids and sold for £52,500 against an estimate of £4,000 to £6,000.
“Sunday ladies is an excellent example of the way Figgis explores images from art history and applies her signature blend of figuration and abstraction” said Rebekah Bowling, Head of Contemporary Art Day Sale at Phillips, adding that in the work on offer, “We see her characteristic use of humor, combining Rococo elements, like the idyllic landscape and the figures’ romantic dress, with the macabre, in the ghoulish appearance of the ladies’ faces.” According to Bowling, demand for her work at auction started to rise in the Fall of 2019, noting that Phillips currently holds the record for the artist, whose painting The Birth of Venus realized $303,663 in a Hong Kong November 2019 Day sale.
Bowling says that collectors find most value in Figgis’ biting wit and “interpretations of art historical masterpieces.” She added that, “the success of The Birth of Venus, in particular, illustrates this” and “her riffs on more recognizable masterworks seem to achieve the most robust results.”
The morning and afternoon day sale sessions will also feature works by budding contemporary stars in high demand, including Jonathan Lyndon Chase, Matthew Wong, Amoako Boafo and Noah Davis. In a statement regarding the sale’s various lots, Robert Manley, Phillips Deputy Chairman and Worldwide Co-Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art noted the works on offer demonstrate the vanguard of contemporary talent. According to Manley, the sales offerings “mark the bellwether of the art market today, featuring artists who have demonstrated collector demand across the globe with a focus on African American, female, and cutting-edge contemporary artists.”
Among the day sale highlights is Noah Davis’s 100 Years of Entertainment 1-5 from 2008, which will come to the market following a new auction record for the artist, established in Phillips March New Now sale, when the late artist’s 2009 painting In Search of Gallerius Maximumianus sold for $400,000, making over six times its low estimate. Phillips will also bring a 1972 work by late abstract artist Vivian Springford titled Untitled (Tanzania Series), marking the first time a work by the artist will be offered at Phillips.