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PHILLIPS FAILED TO MEET EXPECTATIONS IN N Y
16 November 2018
Category : MARKET

Phillips' 20th century and contemporary art sale held on November 15 2018 in New York failed to meet expectations with ten lots unsold including a heavily promoted wood combustion painting by Alberto Burri (est. $10 million—15 million); a “Gray Painting” by Christopher Wool (est. $4 million—6 million); and the catalogue's cover lot, a Jackson Pollock  painting once owned by Nelson Rockefeller (estimated in the region of $18 million),

The house had hoped a success following its encouraging $135 million contemporary sale in London this past March. But in New York it only totaled $88.5 million, well short of the $100 million it expected. The best result of the night was Joan Miro's Femme dans la nuit (1945) (estimated at $12 million—18 million), which rose to $22.6 million.

Burri's Grande legno e rosso (1957-59), which had been expected to set a new auction record for the artist, and Pollock's Number 16 (1950), a small-scale drip painting that Nelson Rockefeller donated to Rio de Janeiro's Museum of Modern Art and works by David Hockney, Donald Judd, Kerry James Marshall and Dan Flavin also failed to sell.

After the auction, Phillips CEO Ed Dolman attributed the house's disappointing performance to a saturated market with several sales held in New York in one week though it recorded some good results, notably for Henri Laurens's La Lune (1946), which set a new record for the artist when it sold for $2.1 million. Amy Sillman's (2008) also sold for a record price of $855,000, while Carmen Herrera more than doubled her previous record of $1.1 million with the sale of her Blanco y Verde (1966) for $2.6 million. In addition, KAWS recorded a best price for his painting Untitled (Fatal Group) (2004) sold for $2.7 million while his monumental sculpture CLEAN SLATE (2014) went for $1.9 million. Meanwhile, Andy Warhol's Gun (1981-1982) fetched $9.5 million, making it the second-most expensive work of the night. 

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