The analysis of the December 7 Modern and Contemporary Art Evening Sales at Phillips is available to AMMpro subscribers. (The first month of AMMpro is free and subscribers are welcome to sign up for the first month and cancel before they are billed.)
Phillips was aiming to see the year out on a high note this evening with a sale of 35 lots of 20th century and contemporary art that carried a $110 million-$160 million estimate. So far this year, no evening sale of modern and contemporary art at any of Phillips's international branches has made than $50 million (the joint New York Hong Kong sale last week). The highest in New York was $41 million in July. But tonight they surpassed that and hit their estimate with a $134.6 million total– also the highest total for a Phillips contemporary art sale in New York and a 25% increase on the equivalent sale last winter.
This time, they were really gunning for it. 4 works were estimated to bring over $10 million each and 14 lots were guaranteed (13 by third parties) with a combined low estimate of $89.6 million or 81.5% of the total– a high percentage even for Phillips. As chairman, Ed Dolman, has said in the past: “We need to make guarantees to get the works in for sale.”
The top of the list was David Hockney’s 7 foot-by-5-foot 1980 painting Nichols Canyon, a view close to his home in California. Consigned by an anonymous ‘Distinguished American Collector’, this was, in fact Seattle-based real-estate developer Richard Hedreen— the American collector currently better known for buying a Frans Hals from Sotheby’s in a private sale in 2011 for $11.75 million, only to be told that scientific tests suggested that it was a forgery. Sotheby’s reimbursed Hedreen but is still fighting a high-profile legal case with one of the sellers who asserts it is genuine.
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