AO On Site Auction Results: Phillips de Pury Part I Contemporary Art Sale falls short but with records set for artists represented by moderately priced works

May 16th, 2009

Simon de Pury at the helm at the auction in front of the Philip Guston

Last night’s contemporary auction at Phillips de Pury fell short of its low estimate of $12.2 million, bringing in $7.7 million, with 12 of the 43 lots going unsold.  The sale’s highlight, an untitled Robert Gober sculpture of a Farina cereal box valued at $2.5-3.5 million, went unsold with only one bid at $1.6 million.  An untitled Anish Kapoor sculpture, estimated at $800, 000-1.2 million, also was met with no bids.  However, one of the auction highlights, Philip Guston’s painting, ‘Anxiety,’ was the highest selling lot, going for $1 million, just making its low estimate. John Baldessari’s painting, ‘Person with Pillow: Desire/Lust/Fate,’ sold for $290,500, missing its estimate of $300,000-400,000.  It had sold at Sotheby’s a year and a half ago for nearly double that amount.  Many artists however, such as Zeng Fanzhi, whose show just concluded at Acquavella Gallery in New York and was covered by Art Observed here did break auction records (work shown below), the details of which are after the jump.

Phillips Contemporary Auction Falls Short of Estimate [NY Times]
Phillips Limps to the Finish Line [Artinfo]

Zeng Fanzhi’s ‘Little Boy’ via Phillips de Pury sold for $446,500 against estimates of $250,000-300,000

The crowd at the auction

Sherrie Levine’s ‘Fountain (Buddha)’via Phillips de Pury sold for $446,500, beating estimates of $150,000-200,000

A number of more moderately priced works did see some action, such as Sherrie Levine’s ‘Fountain (Buddha),’ which sold for $446,500, more than double its high estimate of $200,000. Zeng Fanzhi’s ‘Little Boy’ went for the same amount, beating its high estimate of $300,000.  Aaron Young’s ‘ Burn Out (California Is a Garden of Eden, A Paradise for You and Me, But Believe or Not)’ set a new record at auction for the artist, selling for $60,000, above estimates of $35-45,000.

Robert Gober’s ‘Untitled via Phillips de Pury failed to sell against estimates of $2.5-3.5 million

While Wednesday’s auction at Christie’s appeared to show signs of confidence in the market, last night was more a repeat of Sotheby’s struggle on Tuesday.

Anish Kapoor’s ‘Untitled’ via Phillips de Pury failed to sell against estimates of $800,000-1.2 million

More of the crowd

Philip Guston’s ‘Anxiety’ via Phillips de Pury sold for $1 million against estimates of $1-1.5 million

The auction head before the Robert Gober

The gallery

All photos, unless noted, by ArtObserved