THE price of $56.5m (£36.9m) seen for Andy Warhol's The Men in Her Life at Phillips de Pury's evening sale, meant that for the first time in a New York Contemporary art auction series the top lot did not come from Sotheby's or Christie's.
Phillips de Pury, launched their new premises in Park Avenue
with the sale on November 8, offered the early silkscreen as part
of their so-called Carte Blanche sale which had been put
together by the former head of Christie's postwar and contemporary
art department Philippe Ségalot who is now a private dealer.
Mr Ségalot was the first of what is planned to be regular 'guest
curators' for these sales at Phillips de Pury. In return for
sourcing works and bringing clients to the sale, they receive a cut
of the buyer's premium.
It was widely known that The Men in Her Life was
consigned by the Manhattan dealers the Mugrabi family who are
thought to hold the world's largest private collection of works by
Executed in 1962, the image was based on a photo from
Life magazine showing actress Elizabeth Taylor between her
third husband Mike Todd and future husband Eddie Fisher.
Estimated at $40m-50m and guaranteed by a third party, it sold
to a telephone bidder and made the second highest price for a
Warhol behind Green Car Crash (Green Burning Car I) from
1963 that made $64m (£33.9m) at Christie's New York in May
Helped by the 33 lots from Mr Ségalot's part of the sale,
overall the Phillips de Pury sale made $119.8m (£78.24m) hammer,
against a $101m-139m presale estimate.
Overall, the Contemporary series saw much higher levels of
bidding than its equivalent last year. Sotheby's
evening sale on November 9 made $195m (£127.5m), while
Christie's evening sale on November 10 made
The overall hammer total for the series, including day sales,
was $654.6m (£427.5m) which, when added to the Impressionist and
Modern series the week before, took the fortnight total for sales
in New York to £1.12bn (£731.6m), greatly up on last year's $635m
By Alex Capon