Results: Phillips Contemporary Sale

Carol Vogel has a good review in the NY Times about Phillips de Pury's contemporary art sale, held in its new location.  The sale was divided into two parts, with the first having 33 lots, followed by 26 lots of a lower category.

The evenings total was nearly $137 million, with the first group of lots bringing $117 million and the second bringing $19.9.  The first grouping brought a total above their high pre sale estimate of $104.8, the lower quality lots in the second group failed to approach their expected pre sale estimate of $23.6.  As we have seen many times in the past, top quality items continue to bring top prices, while many in the secondary levels perform below expectations.

The top selling lot was an Andy Warhol of Liz Taylor, titled Men in Her Life, from1962 selling for $63.3 million, the second highest amount paid at auction for a Wahrol (see image).

Vogel reports

Philippe Ségalot, the debut outsider, was a fairly safe one to start with: Now a private dealer, he once ran Christie’s postwar and contemporary art department in New York, and has kept up his connections with collectors and artists, persuading them to both buy and sell some of their prized works.

It was a bifurcated evening, beginning with 33 lots orchestrated by Mr. Ségalot and ending with a less impressive group of 26 works assembled by Phillips’s own team. Mr. Ségalot’s part of the evening was a success, totaling $117 million, above its high estimate of $104.8 million. The second part brought just $19.9 million, below its low $23.6 million estimate. Still, the night’s total of $137 million is a huge number, considering that until now Phillips had never sold more than $59 million in one evening sale.

The biggest star of all was Warhol’s “Men in Her Life,” a 1962 painting based on an image of a young Elizabeth Taylor between husbands. Mr. Ségalot pried the work out of the private collection of the Mugrabi family, Manhattan dealers known for their vast holdings of Warhols.

Two telephone bidders tried to bring home the painting, which was expected to fetch around $50 million but ended up selling to an unidentified client of Mr. Ségalot’s for $63.3 million. It was the second-highest price ever paid for a Warhol, after the $71.7 million paid at Christie’s in 2007 for “Green Car Crash (Green Burning Car I),” from 1963.
To read the complete NY Times article, click HERE.

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