Issue #108  7/17/2006
Phillips Sells Over $41 Million At Its Spring Contemporary Sales

By Stephen Perloff
Editor of The Photograph Collector

Phillips De Pury's contemporary art sales on May 11 and 12 were also remarkably strong. The evening sale sold 98% by value and 97% by lot, totaling $29,499,600. The contemporary day sale also proved successful with 84% lots sold by value and 77% sold by lot, totaling $11,696,320.

Jeff Koons's "Buster Keaton", 1988 was the top lot, selling for $2,704,000 with a high estimate of $1,800,000. It was bought by the Manhattan real estate developer Aby Rosen. Tom Wesselman's "Bedroom Painting #42", 1978, sold for a record-breaking price for the artist at $1,696,000.

Works by four emerging Asian artists did very well, each price setting records for the artist, including Nobuyashi Araki's photograph series, "100 Works for Robert Frank", which sold for $132,000.

Mike Kelley's "Ahh…Youth" ($350,000-$450,000) led the way among photographs at $688,000, tying the record for the artist just set at Christie's. It sold to David Ganek, a hedge fund manager and collector. Two other pictures sold for more than $400,000--John Baldessari's "The Duress Series: Person Kicking over Seated Person and Third Person Perhaps Protesting" ($150,000-$200,000) at $419,200, and Piotr Uklanski's "Untitled (Skull)" ($150,000-$200,000) at $408,000. And two others brought more than $300,000--Andreas Gursky's "Hong Kong, Shanghai Bank" ($180,000–$250,000) at $352,000; and Hiroshi Sugimoto's "Emperor Hirohito", estimated at only $40,000-$60,000, at $307,200 (a record for the artist).

Also topping the $100,000 mark were Gilbert & George's "Gum City" at $192,000, under the low estimate; Thomas Demand's "Wand (Mural)" ($150,000-$200,000) also at $192,000; Richard Prince's "Untitled (Cowboys") below estimate at $180,000; and Matthew Barney's "CREMASTER 3: The Song of the Vertical Field" ($80,000-$120,000) at $162,000.

Selling well over high estimate at $132,000 were Thomas Demand's "Rasen (Lawn)" and Andreas Gursky's "Untitled III". And at $120,000 were Barbara Kruger's "Untitled (We are not made for each other)" ($80,000-$120,000) and Zhang Huan's "Family Tree" ($50,000-$70,000).

One of the highlights of the sale was the Chinese photography section with work by Wang Ningde, Li Dafang, Fu Hong, Quan Yang, and Zhou Tiehai all fetching prices above the high estimate. Cui Xiuwen's, "Sanje", broke the artist's record and sold for $57,600.

In all, 26 artists' records were broken on the May 12th day sale, including Sophie Calle's "Twenty Years Later", 2001, at $64,800.

(Copyright ©2006 by The Photograph Collector.)

My thanks to Steve Perloff and The Photograph Collector Newsletter for giving me permission to use this information. The Photograph Collector, which is a wonderful newsletter that I can heartily recommend, is published monthly and is available by subscription for $149.95. You can phone 1-215-891-0214 and charge your subscription or send a check or money order to: The Photograph Collector, 140 East Richardson Ave, Langhorne, PA 19047. Or to order The Photograph Collector Newsletter online, go to: http://www.photoreview.org/wordpressindex/shop/.