Phillips ended this week’s contemporary art auctions with a modest sale that took in $78.6 million, with no major records set. An Andy Warhol quadruple portrait of Marilyn Monroe against an orange backdrop led the evening’s lots by a good margin, selling for $38.2 million.
Two Fridays ago, just before the art world split for the holiday break, news broke that has had even market insiders, in vacation spots from St. Moritz to St. Barts to Aspen, scratching their heads: Simon de Pury, who has been very much the public face of the Phillips de Pury & Co. auction house for the past 12 years as chairman and head auctioneer, was parting ways with the company, effective immediately. Mercury, the Russian luxury goods firm that bought a majority stake in the company in late 2008, had acquired Mr. de Pury’s remaining shares, a press release announced. In January, the 200-plus-year-old company’s name will go back to Phillips. An e-mail sent to art world colleagues by Mr. de Pury’s wife, Michaela Neumeister, a specialist at Phillips for 12 years, indicated that she, too, was departing.
It’s raining artist records over there at Phillips de Pury & Company.
The auction house just sent over word that nine artists–Richard Serra, Rob Pruitt, Adam McEwen, Nate Lowman, Hans Peter Feldmann, Haegue Yang, Elaine Sturtevant, Jack Goldstein and Wang Shugang–earned new artist records in its two days of contemporary art sales.