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Phillips to Represent Celebrity Photographer Testino

Phillips, de Pury & Company has announced exclusive representation of photographer Mario Testino, best-known for his fashion and celebrity portraits. Representing artists is “a parallel activity to our private treaty sales,” chairman Simon de Pury told ARTnewsletter, adding that private treaty sales are “at least as important as our auction activity.”

NEW YORK—Phillips, de Pury & Company has announced exclusive representation of photographer Mario Testino, best-known for his fashion and celebrity portraits.

Representing artists is “a parallel activity to our private treaty sales,” chairman Simon de Pury told ARTnewsletter, adding that private treaty sales are “at least as important as our auction activity.”

The auction house plans to stage a show of Testino’s work next month (Jan. 28-Feb. 17)—to coincide with New York’s Fashion Week—in its 40,000-square-foot exhibition space in Manhattan’s Chelsea district. The Chelsea address now provides a permanent Manhattan venue for the auctioneer’s venture into art dealing, observes de Pury.

Furthermore, says de Pury, gallery-type exhibitions have a practical side, since there are spaces of time between major auctions that leave the big exhibition site largely vacant. Adding shows of contemporary artists—as well as furniture and decorative arts—fills out the calendar, bringing in more visitors and, hopefully, de Pury suggests, more revenue.

Testino, 51, was born in Lima, Peru, and currently lives in London. Prices for his works range from $18,000/50,000, depending upon the size of the photographs. Each of the artist’s images is generally published in editions of three, with one artist’s proof.

In 2002, 120 of his photographs—including portraits of Madonna, Princess Diana, Prince Charles, models Elizabeth Hurley and Kate Moss, and actress Gwyneth Paltrow—were displayed at London’s National Portrait Gallery. Testino’s photographs of men (alone and with other men) and women (largely in states of ardor) were shown at Manhattan’s Mary Boone Gallery in 1998.

Phillips is experienced in this realm, having represented the work of photographer Helmut Newton (1920-2004) and, currently, his estate for the past eight years.

Newton’s work has been shown primarily at the auctioneer’s Zurich office (De Pury & Luxembourg Gallery), although Phillips arranged for exhibitions at both the Mary Boone Gallery in 2002 and the Gagosian Gallery, Los Angeles, in 2004.

De Pury characterizes both Newton and Testino as “crossover” artists—“successful commercially for their fashion photography and also appreciated by collectors of contemporary fine art.”

Of Testino he adds: “At present we are planning to market him as an artist in his own right.”

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