Global contemporary art events and news observed from New York City. Suggestion? Email us.


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Saturday, October 13th, 2012

30 Berkeley square via BuildingtonLondon auction week ended with a £12.2 million sale at Phillips de Pury & Co., below the total presale estimate of £15m-£22 million. In other news about the auction house, several newspapers also reported that it plans to move its headquarters into 30 Berkeley Square as a tenant to the new owner, Mercury, a Russian luxury goods company which reportedly paid £100m in the sale of the property. Phillips, however, has not issued any statement about the move. (more…)

AO Auction Results — London: Phillips de Pury Contemporary Art Evening Auction, June 28, 2012

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Olympics (1984) which sold for a record-breaking price of £6 million

This evening in London, Phillips de Pury‘s Contemporary Art Evening exceeded pre-sale estimates of £15.1- £21.1 million, with sales totaling £23.4 million. Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat‘s Olympics (1984) at £6 million broke the record for a Warhol-Basquiat collaboration. With three pieces in the auction selling for over a million pounds, the take was over twice the amount received just a year ago for the auction house. Of 30 original lots, 2 were withdrawn (including a Cindy Sherman piece) and 4 were passed on. Although the total sum was not as large as the sales of either Christie’s or Sotheby’s, it was the only auction house to surpass pre-sale estimates for this week.

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AO Auction Results – London: Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction, June 27, 2012

Thursday, June 28th, 2012


Yves Klein,  Le Rose du bleu (1960) which sold for £23.5 million (£3.5 million over its high estimate)

Last night in London, Christie’s Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Auction experienced a stellar sale. Totaling £132.8 million against an expected excess of  £120 million, it was the highest grossing contemporary art sale in Europe. Achieving sales with an 87% sell-through rate and 98% sold by value – Christie’s sold all but 9 on it’s 71 lots – save for the 2 withdrawn. Four of the lots sold above £10 million, and five lots boosted over $10 million. Christie’s Head of Post-War & Contemporary Art, Europe, Francis Outred, was quoted in a post-sale press release: “Following the record result achieved at Christie’s New York in May, we are delighted with tonight results which established a new record for an auction of Post-War & Contemporary Art in Europe… Overall we brought together consignments from four continents, reached buyers on four continents and benefitted from a depth and strength of bidding from across the room and on the phone.”

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AO Auction Preview – London: Post-War and Contemporary Sales at Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Phillips de Pury, June 26 – 28, 2012

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012


Yves Klein, Le Rose du bleu (RE 22) (1960)

This week in London, the focus will shift towards Contemporary Art, for the second consecutive week of  summer auctions. According to the Telegraph, these contemporary sales hold the highest pre-sale estimates ever offered by the London houses. Total sales expected from Sotheby’s range from £57.51 – 82.48 million, while Christie’s are in excess of £120 million. Last week’s Impressionist and Modern Sales were more subdued than the record breaking auctions held in New York this past May. Based upon these record pre-sale estimates, there may be similar hopes for this week’s round of sales.


Yves Klein, Rélief éponge bleu (RE 51) (1959)

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AO Auction Results – New York: Phillips de Pury Contemporary Evening Sale

Saturday, May 12th, 2012


Jean-Michel Basquiat’s, Untitled (1981). Image courtesy of Phillips de Pury.

The Contemporary Art Evening Sale at Phillips de Pury marked the last auction of the May season in New York. At the start, the salesroom was filled with lively energy among the crowd, with collectors mingling, including a Mugrabi brother. This show came after a record breaking fortnight of auctions and fairs within the art world. Coming down to the final sale, it was apparent that the buying was beginning to slow. Still, Phillips de Pury achieved a solid total sale of $86.8 million, which fell within their anticipated estimate of $75–110 million.

Before the Contemporary Evening Sale begins. Photo By Aubrey Roemer for Art Observed.

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AO Auction Preview – New York: Post War and Contemporary Sales at Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Phillips de Pury, May 7–9, 2012

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012


Andy Warhol,  Double Elvis [Feris Type] (1963)

On the heels of a tireless and groundbreaking week in the New York art world, the fervor continues with the major auction houses hosting their Contemporary Art Sales—beginning tonight at Christie’s. Last week’s Impressionist and Modern Art Sales saw unforeseen prices and several world records set, namely the near $120 million paid for Edvard Munch‘s The Scream. In tandem with both the Frieze Art Fair and NADA Art Fairs’ inaugural New York editions—both held this past weekend—the Contemporary Sales possess an auspicious platform this season. The strength of last week’s sales proves the collectors’ attention to the trophy market, with many big ticket and highly recognizable works on the block this week.

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Friday, March 2nd, 2012

‬Simon de Pury is subject of Sucklord doll, as part of Lot 158 at Phillips de Pury’s contemporary auction next week [AO Newslink]

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Art News – Kanye West and Jay-Z’s Maybach from the Spike Jonze directed Otis video to be auctioned at Phillips de Pury next Thursday

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Next Thursday, Phillips de Pury will auction the Maybach 57 featured in Kanye West and Jay-Z’s Otis video, which was directed by Spike Jonze. The proceeds of the car’s sale (which has been on a genuinely rough ride as depicted in the music video) will go to Save the Children. A charitable donation has been planned since the video’s completion, with the closing caption: “The vehicle used in this video will be offered up for auction. Proceeds will be donated towards the East African drought disaster.” At the time of the video’s release, East Africa was deep in famine, as a result of the worst drought to hit the region in 60 years.


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AO Auction Results – London: Phillips de Pury & Company Contemporary Art Evening Sale, February 16, 2012

Sunday, February 19th, 2012


Lucio Fontana, Concetto Spaziale, Attese (1960)

Phillips de Pury & Company held the last of the Contemporary Art Evening Sales for this week in London on Thursday, bringing in a total of £5,695,550, just under their low estimate of £5,985,000. It is quite possible that they would have hit well above their high estimate had Robert Indiana‘s infamous LOVE sculpture not been pulled from the auction before it started, as it was estimated to bring in between £800,000–£1,200,000. The top seller from the auction was Lucio Fontana‘s Concetto Spaziale, Attese, which sold for the hammer price of £900,000—at the low end of the £1–£1.5 million estimate. The work was once owned by Andy Warhol, and is a quintessential example of the Spazialismo movement that Fontana founded, a movement that was among the first to emphasize the importance of performance as art.

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AO Auction Results – London: Contemporary Art Evening Auction at Phillips de Pury Realizes $12.9M for 23 of 35 Lots Sold

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011


Andy Warhol & Jean-Michel Basquiat, Thin Lips, 1984-85 (est. $1.1-1.6 million, bought in), via Phillipsdepury.com

The week’s Contemporary art sales in London got off to a lukewarm start on Wednesday at Phillips de Pury. The evening sale realized $12.9 million against estimates of $15.6-22.7 million, and 12 of the 35 lots offered failed to find buyers. The auction’s featured lot – Jeff Koons‘s rendition of stacked trash cans punctuated by inflatable toys – sold for $3.3 million against a low estimate of $3.1 million (prices realized include the buyer’s premium, estimates do not). A collaborative work by Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat that was expected to fetch at least $1.1 million was bought in, as were works by George Condo, Lucio Fontana, Cindy Sherman, and Paula Rego.

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AO Auction Preview – London: Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips de Pury to Hold Contemporary Art Auctions During Frieze Week, October 12-14, 2011

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011


Lucian Freud, Boy’s Head, 1952 (est. $4.6-6.2 million), via Sothebys.com

Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Phillips de Pury are hosting Contemporary art sales this week in conjunction with the Frieze Art Fair, which officially begins on Thursday in London. Capitalizing on the flood of art afficionados in town for the fair,  the auction houses are hoping to move about $88 million worth of art during their evening sales. Dealers and buyers have been reassured of the art market’s strength following huge boom-like sums achieved during the past few auction cycles, but this round of sales comes at a moment of increased anxiety about the global economy. These sales may set the tone of the major auctions next month in New York, when Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Phillips will offer several hundred million dollars worth of Impressionist, Modern, and Contemporary art.


Jeff Koons, Seal Walrus Trashcans, 2003-09 (est. $3.1-4.6 million), via Phillipsdepury.com

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AO Auction Results – London: Phillips de Pury’s Contemporary Art Sale Realizes $17M; Records Set for Beatriz Milhazes & Ugo Rondinone

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011


Beatriz Milhazes, O Moderno, 2002 (est. $1-1.3 million, realized $1.1 million), via Phillipsdepury.com

Phillips de Pury’s Contemporary art evening sale on Monday night at their new space in the Claridge’s Hotel, London realized $17 million for 27 of 31 lots sold. The sum (which includes fees) fell within presale estimates of $16.4-27.3 million despite the withdrawal of a high priced Cindy Sherman, reportedly because another version of the work sold at Art Basel earlier this month. The equivalent sale last year at Phillips realized just $6 million and nearly half the lots offered went unsold.

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AO Auction Preview – London: Phillips de Pury, Christie’s, and Sotheby’s to Hold Contemporary Art Sales June 27-29, 2011

Sunday, June 26th, 2011


Jean-Michel Basquiat, Self-Portrait, 1985 (est. $3.2-4.8 million), via Phillipsdepury.com

The summer sales continue in London this week as the major auction houses host their Contemporary art auctions. Phillips will offer 32-lots on Monday evening, followed by Christie’s 67-lot sale on Tuesday and capped with an 88-lot sale at Sotheby’s on Wednesday. The Phillips sale will take place at the company’s new exhibition space at Claridge’s London. Like the auction house’s move uptown to 450 Park Ave in New York last year, the new London location is closer than their Howick Place headquarters to competitors Sotheby’s and Christie’s. The night’s 32 lots are expected to fetch $16-23 million and are headlined by a Basquiat self portrait that is estimated to bring as much as $4.8 million.


Damien Hirst, Confession, 2008 (est. $958,000-1.3 million), via Phillipsdepury.com

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AO Onsite Auction Results – New York: Phillips de Pury’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction Realizes $94.8M; Warhol’s “Liz #5″ is Top Lot

Thursday, May 12th, 2011


Andy Warhol, Liz #5, 1963 (est. unpublished, realized $26.9 million). All images via Phillipsdepury.com.

The week’s Contemporary art sales ended Thursday night with a fifty lot auction at Phillips de Pury & Co. The sale just missed its low presale estimate of $84.5 million before fees were added. Thirty-eight lots sold for a total of $82.7 million, or $94.8 million with fees. For the third time this week a Warhol canvas was the top lot. Liz #5, rumored to be sold by hedge-fund manager Steven Cohen, sold for $26.9 million against an unpublished presale estimate of $20-30 million. Unlike Warhol’s photo-booth self portrait on offer Wednesday night at Christie’s, Liz #5‘s trip to the auction block was brief. Bidding opened at $18 million and rose to $24 million before contenders called it quits.


Andy Warhol and Jean Michel Basquiat, Third Eye, 1985 (est. $2-3 million, realized $7 million)

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AO Auction Preview – New York: Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and Phillips de Pury to Hold Contemporary Art Sales May 9-12, 2011

Monday, May 9th, 2011


Jeff Koons, Pink Panther, 1988 (est. $20-30 million), via Sothebys.com

This week Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and Phillips de Pury will hold Contemporary art auctions in New York. After an anemic week of Impressionist and Modern art sales, the auction houses hope to broker nearly half a billion dollars of Contemporary art. On Monday Sotheby’s will offer forty-three lots during two parts of a three part sale of the collection of Allan Stone (consisting mostly of works by Wayne Thiebaud and Willem de Kooning), followed by their fifty-nine lot Contemporary art evening sale on Tuesday. The next night Christie’s will offer sixty-six works expected to fetch at least $230 million. The week ends with Phillips de Pury’s fifty-one lot sale that carries an estimate of $85-120 million.


Andy Warhol, Sixteen Jackies, 1964 (est. $20-30 million), via Sothebys.com

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AO Auction Preview – London: Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and Phillips de Pury to Hold Contemporary Art Auctions February 15-17, 2011

Monday, February 14th, 2011


Gerhard Richter, Abstraktes Bild, 1990 (est. £5-7 million), via Sothebys.com

The February auctions continue this week in London with Contemporary Art sales at Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and Phillips de Pury. The day after Valentine’s Day buyers can cozy up to sixty lots at the Sotheby’s Contemporary art evening sale that are estimated to bring upwards of £30 million. The following night Christie’s will offer sixty-four lots that are expected to fetch £36-52 million. Phillips de Pury closes the week’s auctions with a twenty-nine lot sale that carries an estimate of £5.8-8.5 million. Christie’s is the only house to have officially released their 2010 global sales figures, and the numbers are impressive. The company sold £3.3 billion (or $5 billion) worth of art last year, more than any previous year in their 245-year history. Cheyenne Westphal, Sotheby’s Chairman of Contemporary Art London, revealed that the firm sold $845 million worth of Contemporary art in 2010 and that this is the third-highest total at the company in the field. At November’s Contemporary art auctions Phillips de Pury debuted a sparkling new gallery space on Park Avenue in New York and had the biggest sale of the week when Andy Warhol’s Men in Her Life sold for $63.4 million. It was a good year for Contemporary art, and the results of this week’s sales are expected to indicate whether the market will continue to recover in 2011 as it did in 2010.


Andy Warhol, Nine Multicoloured Marilyns (Reversal Series), 1979-1986 (est. £2-3 million), via Sothebys.com

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AO Onsite Auction Results: Carte Blanche & Contemporary Evening Sales at Phillips de Pury in New York on Monday Nov. 8 Together Realize $137M; Warhol sells for $63.4M

Monday, November 8th, 2010


Felix Gonzales-Torres, Untitled (Portrait of Marcel Brient), 1992 (est. $4-6 million, realized $4.5 million), via Phillipsdepury.com

Phillips de Pury conducted its first auctions at 450 Park Avenue on Monday night to a packed house, kicking off a week of Contemporary Art sales in New York. The Carte Blanche auction, curated by Philippe Ségalot, was immediately followed by the Contemporary Art Evening Sale. The Carte Blanche auction carried a presale estimate of $77.5-104.8 million and realized $117 million, while the Contemporary Evening Sale brought in $20 million against a high presale estimate of $34.4 million.

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AO Auction Preview: Phillips de Pury, Sotheby’s, and Christie’s to hold Contemporary Art Auctions in New York beginning tomorrow, Monday, Nov. 8th through Wednesday, Nov. 10th

Sunday, November 7th, 2010


Andy Warhol, Men in Her Life, 1962 (est. $40 million), via Phillipsdepury.com

The second week of major New York auctions begins with two evening sales at Phillips de Pury on Monday, November 8th, followed by the Sotheby’s sale on Tuesday and the Christie’s sale on Wednesday. Phillips will hold two back to back sales on Monday evening that will inaugurate the house’s new headquarters at 450 Park Avenue in New York City. The evening sale is preceded by the first of a new series of auctions titled Carte Blanche, wherein a guest artist, collector, or curator organizes the auction. This week’s Carte Blanche auction is the bigger of the two sales and is curated by Philippe Ségalot. It is comprised of 33 works expected to fetch at least $80 million. The Sotheby’s sale is composed of 55 lots expected to bring upwards of $132 million, while the 76 lots at Christie’s are expected to fetch upwards of $240 million.

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AO Auction Results – London: Wednesday, October 13th, Phillips de Pury Contemporary Art Auction Within Presale Estimates, Sets New Records for Aaron Young, Sterling Ruby

Thursday, October 14th, 2010


David H0ckney, Autumn Pool, 1978 (est 700,000 – 1 million GBP, realized 1,329,250 GBP), via Phillipsdepury.com

Wednesday’s Contemporary Art Evening Sale at Phillips de Pury in London, which carried a presale estimate of 5.6 – 8 million GBP, brought in 6,562,900 GBP, with 21 of 56 lots unsold (86% by value, 69% by lot). The featured lot, David Hockney‘s Autumn Pool, sold for 1.3 million GBP against a high presale estimate of 1 million GBP. This also broke the record for a work on paper by the artist at auction.


Andy Warhol, The Scream (after Edvard Munch), 1984 (est. 500,000-700,000 GBP), via Phillipsdepury.com

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AO Auction Preview: Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and Phillips de Pury to Hold Contemporary Art Auctions This Week in London During Frieze Art Fair

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010


Damien Hirst, I am Become Death, Shatterer of Worlds, 2006 (est. 2.5-3.5 million GBP), via Christies.com

The Frieze Art Fair begins this week in London and is accompanied by Contemporary Art sales at the three major auction houses. This year, Phillips de Pury will kick things off with a 56 lot evening sale on October 13th, followed by a 51 lot sale at Christie’s on the 14th and a 40 lot sale at Sotheby’s on the 15th. After the dismal results of last year’s equivalent sales and the lackluster results of the summer sales, the art world is hoping that these auctions will give a stronger indication that the market for contemporary Western art is in fact recovering.

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AO AUCTION RESULTS: DISAPPOINTMENT AT PHILLIPS DE PURY’S LONDON CONTEMPORARY ART AUCTION on june 29th AS THE SALE FELL SHORT OF PRESALE ESTIMATES

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010


Cover of the catalog for last night’s Contemporary Art auction at Phillips de Pury & Co showing Thomas Schutte’s Doppelkopf (1994), via Phillipsdepury.com

Last night’s Contemporary Art auction at Phillips de Pury & Co reinforced uncertainties regarding the present state of the Contemporary Art market, as the sale earned just £3,963,450 against the pre-sale estimate of £6,075,000-8,575,000 (totals realized include buyer’s premium, estimates do not). Of 45 lots offered only 24 found buyers, leaving 47% of the lots unsold. For comparison, last year’s Contemporary Art Auction at Phillips earned £5.1 million.

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AO Onsite – Auction Results: works from the Halsey Minor Collection fetch $21.1 at Phillips de Pury & Company, New York

Friday, May 14th, 2010


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….
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AO Onsite Auction Results: A rare self-portrait by Andy Warhol headlines Sotheby’s Contemporary evening sale Wednesday, May 12th, in New York

Thursday, May 13th, 2010


Untitled, Maurizio Cattelan (2001) Estimate: $3–4 million Price Realized: $7.9 million

Last night, Sotheby’s confirmed the art market’s return to form as 50 of the 53 lots on offer sold at its Contemporary art sale.  Tallying $189,969,000 in sales, well over the house’s $162 million pre-sale estimate, 39 works fetched more than one million dollars, with two selling for more than $30 million, and seven making more than $5 million. Further to this, the sale achieved the two top lots achieved so far at New York’s Contemporary sales week, surpassing Christie’s sale of Jasper Johns Flag for $29 million on Tuesday night  – Andy Warhol’s Self-Portrait more than doubled its high estimate to sell for $32,562,500, and an Untitled Mark Rothko painting from 1961 soared over the high estimate to sell for $31,442,500.


Self Portrait, Andy Warhol (1986). Estimate: $10-15 million. Price Realized: $32,562,500

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AO Auction Preview – New York: The Spring Auctions begin tonight with the highly anticipated sale of Picasso’s ‘Nude, Green Leaves and Bust’

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010


Nude, Green Leaves and Bust, Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

The spring auctions in New York, which form the bellwether of the art market, get under way tonight with the Impressionist and modern art sale at Christie’s.  Over the next two weeks, Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips de Pury & Co are offering up to $1.2 billion of Impressionist, modern and contemporary art – twice as much as they sold last May. During the Impressionist and modern evening sales in May 2009 only three works carried price tags of $10 million or more – this month 10 works by Edvard Munch, Alberto Giacometti, Pablo Picasso and others are priced as high. Another six works are expected to fetch at least $5 million, up from four a year ago.  Judging by these optimistic pre-sale estimates, the auction houses clearly hope that things will play out as they did three months ago in London when Sotheby’s set the record for any work of art ever sold at auction with the $104 million sale of Alberto Giacometti’s L’Homme qui marche I to Lily Safra, wife of the late Lebanese banker Edmond Safra.  Now a Pablo Picasso nude bears the largest pre-sale estimate in history ($70m to $90m) and an anonymous third-guarantor who has agreed to bid at least $70 million (that’s more than the auction house got last fall for its entire evening sale of Impressionist and modern art). Christie’s are set to dominate the fortnight because of two art-stocked estates. Tonight, paintings and sculptures owned by the late Los Angeles collector Frances Brody are expected to fetch as much as $194 million.  98 lots from the estate of the bestselling author and filmmaker, Michael Crichton, are estimated to sell for as much as $75 million and form the backbone of their Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale on Tuesday, May 11.

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