Phillips announced that it sold $916 million worth of art and collectibles in 2018, the highest total in its 220-year history.
The record sum comes a decade after the Russian luxury goods conglomerate, the Mercury Group, acquired the business, and five years since former Christie's CEO Ed Dolman started to manage the auction house.
Auction sales rose 27 percent, to $794.3 million, while private transactions rose 46 percent to $122.2 million while sales of 20th century and contemporary art, sales jumped 40 percent to $592.9 million.
Phillips's has however been trailing behind Christie's and Sotheby's, which both exceeded $4 billion in sales last year. Still, it made serious gains in market share as its sales have more than doubled in the past five years. In 2013, its fine art sales made up 4.1 percent of the total generated by all three houses. By 2018, that figure grew to seven percent.
Phillips has in fact base dits strategy on focusing mainly on 20th and 21st century art with a continued expansion in Asia and a close attention on day sales which grew by 50% while looking for high quality modern artworks after selling Picasso's « La Dormeuse » (1932) for 57,9 million USD and a bronze sculpture by Matisse, « Nu allongé » (Aurore-1917) for 20,5 million.
Now Phillips hope to achieve a fine total for 2019 despite China's economic slowdown and Brexit.