Richard Prince, Nurse in Hollywood #4 (2004)
Fueled by 22 choice works from the collection of the embattled CNET founder Halsey Minor, which sold for $21.1 million, Phillips de Pury & Company’s evening sale last night wrapped-up a hugely successful week of contemporary art auctions in New York. Overall, the boutique-sized auction house sold 58 of the 74 lots on offer for a grand total of $37.9 million. Unlike its uptown rivals, Phillips saw no lots make over $5 million with only seven exceeding the $1 million mark. Nevertheless, the result is superior to the auction house’s last Contemporary evening sale in New York in November 2009, when they managed to bring in only $7,099,250. While a few familiar faces featured in the crowd, including Miami collector Donald Rubell and the fashion mogul Marc Jacobs, most of the action was dominated by anonymous telephone bidders – with the majority of winning bids being taken by Michaela de Pury and Michael McGinnis, head of Phillips’s contemporary art department worldwide.
In March this year Halsey Minor was instructed by a court order to give up dozens of artworks to satisfy a $21.6 million delinquent loan to ML Private Finance L.L.C., an affiliate of Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch. While last night’s sales may cover the majority of this payment, Minor is also under a court order to pay Sotheby’s a further $6.64 million in a dispute over three artworks he had purchased at auction and later refused to pay for. Meanwhile, in the state of California, a trial is underway on issues between him and Christie’s auction house. More works from Minor’s collection are coming on the block at Phillips today and on June 9.
More images, related links and a full round-up of the sale after the jump….