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Small Sale Yields Solid Results at Phillips de Pury & Company

Phillips de Pury & Company kept its part one evening sale short on Feb. 17 and was rewarded with a good sale rate of 83 percent, or 24 of the 29 lots offered, but only 13 of these hit their estimates.

LONDON—Phillips de Pury & Company kept its part one evening sale short on Feb. 17 and was rewarded with a good sale rate of 83 percent, or 24 of the 29 lots offered, but only 13 of these hit their estimates. The total £5.4 million ($8.7 million) therefore fell short of the £5.7 million/8.4 million pre sale estimate.

The top lot, and the only one to reach £1 million, was Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Overrun, 1985, which brought just £1.1 million ($1.8 million) including premium against a £1 million/1.5 million estimate. The sale included several works from the Valencia Collection, formed by a group of Spanish investors with the advice of Rocio Tassara, a former Sotheby’s expert based in Barcelona, between 2005 and 2007.

Sharing top price from the collection were Ilya and Emilia Kabakov’s The Painting on an Easel, 1998, which sold below estimate for £361,250 ($582,696), on an estimate of £400,000/600,000, and Rudolf Stingel’s large aluminum work, Untitled, 2002, which also sold at a hammer price below estimate to fetch £361,250 ($582,696), compared with an estimate of £350,000/450,000 from art adviser, Hailey Ritcheson. Also from the collection was Georg Herold’s caviar and resin painting, Untitled, 1990, which sold for a record £121,250 ($196,425), on an estimate of £40,000/60,000 to art adviser Andreas Siegfried.

All told, and including 94 works from Phillips’ day sale, the house said the 101-lot Valencia collection brought £2.8 million ($4.5 million), selling 93 percent by value and 79 percent by lot. Because so many artists were new to auction, Phillips claimed no less than 38 record prices from the collection. Among the more significant were those for Angela de la Cruz (£28,750), Remy Zaugg (£49,250), Imi Knoebel (£79,250), Callum Innes (£44,450), Thomas Zipp (£48,050), Art & Language (£58,850), and Bernard Frize (£55,250).

Tassara would not divulge the original investment figure for the collection, but, following the sale, said she was happy with the result, having chosen Phillips for its track record in selling cutting-edge contemporary art.

The most significant record of the evening sale was Wade Guyton’s inkjet printed letter X, Untitled, 2007, which sold to Stellan Holm for £213,650 ($360,102), on an estimate of £50,000/70,000. Also among the top-lot bidders was Dutch art advisor, Siebe Tettero, who bought Dutch CoBRA artist, Karel Appel’s Birds over the Red Sea, 1957, for £205,250 ($332,505), compared with an estimate of £200,000/300,000.

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