Phillip does a decent sale in the first showing after Brexit
England’s football team crashed out of the Euros, even as the UK took its final decision to leave the European Union (EU) which resulted in the country being stripped of its triple- A credit rating. The 20th century and contemporary sale at the Phillips, however mustered a respectable return.
The four rows at the front were ominously and conspicuously empty; this however did not deter a flurry of bids at opportune moments and neither were any works withdrawn prior to the auction which had an impressive size of 31- lots.
Though, when compared to the last year’s 50- lot sale there was a drop of 34.6% as the £9.8 million stayed well short of the pre – auction estimate of £10.21 million to £14.96 million. At 68% the sell through rate too failed to impress. The only work of art on sale that was backed by Phillips, a painting in acrylic by Sam Francis that was estimated to sell anywhere between £300,000 and £500,000, in fact failed to sell.
Due to the considerable fall in the sterling, Phillips saw a heavy bidding action from the US and Asia where the savings could have been as high up as between 10% and 15% says the chairman and chief executive for Phillips – Ed Dolman. The future would see a lot more challenges in pricing and in satisfying the consigners expectations rather than the number of lots or the amount of material on offer.
Of the entire collection up for sale it was only two works that breached the coveted one million line. Anselm Kiefer’s stormy seascape brought the hammer down at £2 million. The final price is reflective of the economic turbulence and the volatile financial condition as the price garnered is a record for Kiefer when calculated in pounds not in dollars.
The event had its own star attraction and was attended by Jaden Smith, son of Hollywood actors Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. It was Jaden’s auction debut, where the Kiefer painting is said to have caught his eye, though he did not bid on any of the works. The 17 year old, later was heard saying that he enjoyed the auction, he collects but was there because he too is an artist.
Dolman looks optimistically towards the future, with hopes that the art market will remain strong in spite of Brexit and changes in the European Union.