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Phillips Contemporary Makes a ‘Strong Showing’

Phillips, de Pury & Company started its contemporary art sale auction on the afternoon of Feb. 6 in a Bloomsbury ballroom, a temporary location while the new London premises in Victoria are under reconstruction.

LONDON—Phillips, de Pury & Company started its contemporary art sale auction on the afternoon of Feb. 6 in a Bloomsbury ballroom, a temporary location while the new London premises in Victoria are under reconstruction.

Although the Sotheby’s Impressionist day sale was still in progress, a fair crowd turned up for the 92-lot auction that included 40 contemporary Chinese works from the collection of Kika Borghese, widow of the Italian Prince Francesco Borghese who died in 2003.

Estimated to bring £3.7/5.2 million, the sale realized £5.28 million ($10.4 million), with all but nine of 92 lots sold.

Top prices came for the Chinese works, with the “Bloodline” and “Amnesia and Memory” series by Zhang Xiaogang doubling and trebling estimates, and record prices tumbling for six other Chinese artists—the highest of which was £164,800, or $323,000 (estimate: £50,000/70,000), given for Tang Zhigang’s Children in a Meeting, 2002.

Six records were also achieved for recent works by younger-generation Western artists. Mark Handforth’s Partial Stop, 2004, pulverized estimates to sell for £66,000, or $129,360 (estimate: £9,000/12,000) to a phone bidder pitted against dealer-collector Nicolai Frahm.

Keith Tyson’s painting Geno-Pheno: The Nowness of 63, 2004, sold to a phone bidder for £96,000, or $188,160 (estimate: £50/70,000). Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset’s installation Go Go Go, 2005, earned £45,600, or $89,400 (estimate: £30,000/40,000). Wim Delvoye’s Dump Truck Scale Model, 2004, went for £84,000, or $164,640 (estimate: £70,000/90,000).

José María Cano’s Roman Abramovich, 2005, sold for £48,000, or $94,000 (estimate: £20,000/30,000). Cano’s latest works opened in a show two days later, selling for up to £40,000($78,400) each at Allsopp Contemporary gallery. The portrait at Phillips was bought by the Regina Gallery, Moscow, which also acquired a 1985 painting by Martin Kippenberger, Ertragsgebirge (Profit Peaks), in oil and silicone on canvas, for £164,800, or $324,656 (estimate: £150,000/200,000).

Other galleries buying at the sale included Hauser & Wirth, which bought Richard Phillips’ painting Double, 1996-97, for £69,600, or $136,400 (estimate: £50,000/70,000); White Cube, which bought Gilbert & George’s Gobs (in 16 Parts), 1988, for £102,000, or $199,920 (estimate: £40,000/60,000); Gary Hume’s early Mint White Door No. 2, 1988, for £78,000, or $152,900 (estimate: £40,000/60,000); and West Coast dealer Anthony Meier, who acquired Albert Oehlen’s Ascension, 2001, for £120,000, or $235,200 (estimate: £60,000/80,000).

It was a strong showing for Phillips, keeping its profile up in the consciousness of the London market following the auction house’s opening sale last October.

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