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Contemporary art flourishing
Here are some highlights from this week's auctions in London. The events are organized by auction houses Chtistie's, Sotheby's and Phillips de Pury. In order to grasp the attention of its collectors, galerist de Pury invited some 200 people at a very special art gathering at Claridge's Hotel in glamorous Mayfair, London. And the results surpassed expectations...


Published on Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

This week, London is flourishing with contemporary auctions organized by Christie's, Sotheby's and Phillips de Pury. While there are gems on the docket like Warhol's brilliant Electric Chair and works by other very iconic American figures like Jean Michel Basquiat and Alexander Calder, the collection is overwhelmingly European.

There is an extraordinary classic assortment of Lucian Freud paintings and drawings, other than immense art pieces by German Neo-Expressionists like Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke and Georg Baselitz. Britain is very present as well with artists such as Francis Bacon, Damien Hirst, Jenny Saville  and David Hockney

Phillips de Pury made a choice: launching a new location with a decisive auction that was put up for sale for an amount of £11.2m and a sell-through rate of 87%. This clearly shows a positive change in favour of the London based auction house, which last year, within the same sale, was able to make only £4m by selling merely half of the works on sale.

Phillips' list was integrated with higher valued items than in latest auctions: works in the low tens of thousands have been common, while  at the auction the £50,000-£70,000 Kassay was one of the lowest-estimated items. 


Jacob Kassay is meant to be this year’s sensation, and his untitled 2009 work naturally went above the £50,000-£70,000 estimation to sell on the telephone for  the incredible amount of £145,250. This extra secure method rewarded the auction house, regardless of ruthless approximations, and the auction house accomplished two noteworthy artist witnessing during its latest sale, both sold via telephone: Ugo Rondinone, with his white tree sculpture, Get Up Girl a Sun Is Running the World, 2006, was purchased for £541,250 (with an initial estimation at £200,000-£300,000); and Beatriz Milhazes, with the work O Moderno, 2002 sold for £713,250 ( the idea was to make a sensation with £650,000) 

Totally, art market specialists sensed this as an excellent opening to the week. Joint together, the evening sales this week are calculated to assemble between £140.2m and £197.8m.

A Jean-Michel Basquiat positioned itself as the first important sale that signed the beginning of London week of contemporary-art dealings that comprise the Masterpiece fair and many different night sales with a peak approximation of 200 million pounds ($320 million) .


The Basquiat, made in 1985 and characterised by a half-length self-portrait nearby a wood board sheltered in bottle ends, obtained 2.1 million pounds ($3.4 million) at Phillips de Pury & Co.’s opening contemporary sale. The evening auction took place at Claridge’s in Mayfair. The worth of the work was five times the $647,500 it reached in 2003 at Phillips de Pury in New York City.

A positive thinking mark the atmosphere, since auction houses are confident concerning this hottest occasion of contributions as soon as galerists made a statement about the various sales in the $200,000 to $2 million-range, protagonists of this edition of Art Basel. This implied of course a homecoming in reference to 2007 heights of demand. De Pury also expected to take advantage by its sale position: its Victoria centre has turned out to be extremely isolated for particular collectors. 

There were 200 people attending at the Hotel Claridge’s based sale. The art piece by Basquiat was one of five works with least offers by third party sponsors. In fact it went to the guarantor, who was submitting economic offers by phone, for vaguely more than the 2-million-pound approximate calculation.

Even though the sale made a total turnout of 11.2 million pounds with fees, beside an estimation of 10 million pounds to 14.5 million pounds, only eighty-seven percent of the lots was given away. Very good if compared to last year’s corresponding event, which reached, with an achievement speed of 53 percent, 4 million pounds.

curated by eleonora galasso


Reserved Reproduction