Following a pair of major auctions the previous evenings, the Phillips Contemporary and Evening Sale in London has concluded the first Contemporary market week of the year, capping a 30-lot sale at the auction house’s new 30 Berkeley Square to the final result of £17.7 million, with only five of the works going unsold.
Sales were brisk and orderly over the course of the night, with nearly every one of the works finding a buyer, despite many works falling well below estimate. A Rashid Johnson opened strong, selling for £116,500, before works by Kelley Walker and Danh Vo settled within estimate, bringing £242,500 and £158,500, respectively.
Then came a streak of impressive sales, nearing or breaking several auction records in a number of consecutive lots. A Tauba Auerbach Fold work sold for £1,202,500, almost resetting a record the artist broke just last year, followed by Ai Weiwei’s full Zodiac Heads set, which sold for a record price of ££2,882,500. Only a few lots later, Mark Bradford’s cover lot brought in £2,546,500, doubling the estimated price and setting a new world record for the artist. The lot jumped off to a roaring start as an eager bidder lobbed an opening bid of £1.3 million, eagerly clawing for the work with considerable increments before claiming it at the record price.
With the conclusion of the sale, Phillips drew a week of impressive sales in London to a close. The auction houses will turn to New York next month, where the first major test of the American market is set to take place.
— D. Creahan
Phillips Contemporary Evening Sale [Phillips]