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Alex Rodriguez’s Basquiat Makes $3.36 M. at Phillips Contemporary Sale in London

Roy Lichtenstein's The Conductor sold for $6.3 million.

Roy Lichtenstein’s The Conductor (1975) sold for £4.97 million, or $6.31 million.


The June evening sales in London concluded tonight, with Phillips hosting a 20th-century and contemporary auction whose 36 lots included pieces from the collection of baseball star Alex Rodriguez, a couple of Picassos, and one work by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, who will receive her first major survey at Tate Britain in London next summer.

The sale brought in £35.9 million (about $45.5 million), a healthy performance against an estimate of £24.55 million to £35.68 million (or $31.1 million to $45.2 million). Eleven lots were guaranteed, either by the house or third-parties. All but four works on offer found buyers, for a solid 89 percent sell-through rate.

The top lot of the sale was Roy Lichtenstein’s The Conductor (1975), which sold for £4.97 million ($6.3 million) against a £4 million-to-£6 million estimate ($5.07 million to $7.60 million).

A Basquiat and a Picasso came in second and third place, respectively. An electrifying untitled work by Basquiat from 1981 depicting Jackie Robinson sold for £3.84 million (£4.87 million) on a £3 million-to-£5 million estimate ($3.8 million to $6.33 million). Just behind it was Pablo Picasso’s Homme assis (Mardi gras), 1972, which sold for £3.07 million ($3.89 million), within its estimate of £2.5 million to £3.5 million ($3.17 million to $4.43 million).

Marlene Dumas' Losing (Her Meaning) from 1988.

Marlene Dumas, Losing (Her Meaning) , 1988.


Alas, Rodriguez’s Basquiat did not fair as well. His Pink Elephant with Fire Engine (1984) sold for £2.66 million ($3.36 million), below its estimate of £3 million to £4 million ($3.80 million–$5.07 million).

Of course, that’s still a nice chunk of change, and Rodriguez has said he’ll keep buying art, building a collection his new wife, Jennifer Lopez.

While bidding was largely subdued, it picked up for Luc Tuymans’s Schwarzheide (1986), which exceeded its high estimate of £1 million ($1.27 million), selling for £1.22 million ($1.55 million). Also doing well was Marlene Dumas’s Losing (Her Meaning), 1988, which tripled its low estimate of £400,000 ($506,800), selling for £1.22 million ($1.54 million)

The high-end auction market largely goes quiet in the summer months, but will swing back into action in the fall.

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