Art Market

Phillips Kicks Off London Auction Season With £16.5 Million Sale

By

Phillips Kicks Off London Auction Season With £16.5 Million Sale
Rashid Johnson, "Sun Goddess," 2009

Phillips kicked off the fall contemporary art auctions in London this week with a respectable £16.5 million sale that set eight new artist records—for Fischli & Weiss, Rashid Johnson, Billy Childish, Matias Faldbakken, and others.

At the two-part event, which took place last night and this afternoon, crumpled, dirtied and ashy-colored canvases abounded. Abstract painter Ryan Sullivan, for one, sold a rippling latex canvas done in earth tones that resemble a topographical map for £98,500—just eking past his previous auction record.

Meanwhile, a smudged white painting by Oscar Murillo raced past its £20,000-£30,000 estimate to total £134,500—a feat that has become commonplace for Murillo in recent months and is reminiscent of yesteryear auction star Jacob Kassay (who merely doubled Phillips’s £15,000 low estimate for one of his signature silver monochromes). A chromatic gray painting, this time by Gerhard Richter, became the evening’s top lot when upstart dealer Vito Schnabel placed the winning bid of £2.4 million. 

A few figurative sculptures surpassed expectations as well. Catalan artist Jaume Plensa’s human form built from small steel letters doubled its estimate to reach £194,500 today, and the Swiss duo Fischli & Weiss’s plaster sculpture of a stewardess equally surpassed expectations with its £290,500 total, making it the top lot of the day. But the real highlight for the pair came last night, when Phillips set a new artist record with the sale of their absurdist raft of objects, including a brood of suckling piglets, for £602,500.

The other artist records came in for Rashid Johnson's large-scale sculptural composition Sun Goddess, selling for £122,500; Faldbakken's black tape-on-canvas, Untitled, 2009, for £56,250; Hugh Scott-Douglas's cyan-blue printed monochrome, for £27,500; Dan Rees's triptych of splattered modeling clay on wood, for £74,500; Gelitin's chaotic, childlike plasticine tableau from 2008, for £27,500; and Childish's 2007 painting Man in a landscape - North Beach San Franscisco, for £23,750.

DISCOVER

a treasure trove of fine art from the world's most renowned artists, galleries, museums and cultural institutions. We offer exclusive works you can't find anywhere else.

LEARN

through exclusive content featuring art news, collecting guides, and interviews with artists, dealers, collectors, curators and influencers.

BUY

authentic artworks from across the globe. Collecting with us means you're helping to sustain creative culture and supporting organizations that are making the world a better place.

CONNECT

with our art advisors for buying advice or to help you find the art that's perfect for you. We have the resources to find works that suit your needs.

INSIDER ACCESS TO THE WORLD'S BEST ART

Artspace offers you authentic, exclusive works from world-renowned artists, galleries, museums and cultural institutions. Collecting with us helps support creative culture while bringing you art news, interviews and access to global art resources.

  • COLLECT FROM 300+ GALLERIES & MUSEUMS