TODAY, PHILLIPS IS A PREMIER DESTINATION FOR BUYERS AND SELLERS OF MODERN, POST-WAR, CONTEMPORARY, AMERICAN AND LATIN AMERICAN WORKS OF ART IN ADDITION TO WATCHES, JEWELS, PHOTOGRAPHY, WORKS ON PAPER AND EDITIONS. IN 2020, THE NEW YORK AUCTION HOUSE MOVED TO LARGER HEADQUARTERS AT 432 PARK AVENUE EXPANDING ITS FOOTPRINT IN NEW YORK AND ITS GLOBAL PRESENCE IN THE AUCTION WORLD. FOUNDED IN LONDON IN 1796, PHILLIPS FIRST GAINED INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION FROM ITS SALE OF THE ESTATE OF QUEEN MARIE ANTOINETTE HELD INSIDE BUCKINGHAM PALACE. ITS FOUNDER, HARRY PHILIPS, WAS AN INNOVATIVE BUSINESSMAN, THE FIRST TO HOST EVENING RECEPTIONS BEFORE AUCTIONS, NOW AN ANTICIPATED AND STANDARD PRACTICE. THE AUCTION HOUSE HAS CHANGED HANDS SEVERAL TIMES INCLUDING ITS OWNERSHIP BY LVMH CHAIR, BERNARD ARNAULT, AND DEALERS SIMON DE PURY AND DANIELA LUXEMBOURG.
IN 2014, AT A MOMENT OF A SYSTEMIC CHANGE IN THE THREE LEADING INTERNATIONAL AUCTION HOUSES, ED DOLMAN JOINED PHILLIPS AS CEO AND BROUGHT IN AN EXCEPTIONAL TEAM CULLED FROM THE RANKS OF CHRISTIE’S AND SOTHEBY’S. MIETY HEIDEN BECAME AN INVALUABLE PRESENCE AT PHILLIPS, CONTRIBUTING HER ENORMOUS EXPERTISE IN THE PRIVATE SALES SECTOR AT AUCTION, A VERY LUCRATIVE ASPECT OF EACH AUCTION HOUSE. SHE HAD LAUNCHED S/2, THE SELLING GALLERY AT SOTHEBY’S AND WORKED ON THEIR CONTEMPORARY EVENING SALES.
As reported in Artnet News, March 3, 2016:
In recent years, both Sotheby’s and Christie’s have increasingly focused on private sales, which are generally more lucrative, since they avoid the hefty costs of staging public auctions and publishing auction catalogues.
She contributed to business development and managed client relationships for the New York and Hong Kong contemporary art evening and day sales, as well as focusing on emerging markets and drumming up business on the West Coast. She was also a consultant to the Chinese contemporary art department, and was previously head of the modern and contemporary art department in Amsterdam.
TODAY THE LRFA BLOG IS DELIGHTED TO WELCOME MIETY HEIDEN, DEPUTY CHAIR AND HEAD OF PRIVATE SALES AT PHILIPS AUCTION HOUSE. MIETY IS BOTH A FRIEND AND A COLLEAGUE, MUCH ADMIRED BY EVERYONE WHO KNOWS HER. HER LOVE OF THE ARTS, DEEP KNOWLEDGE OF THE ART MARKET, SENSE OF HUMOR AND COOL COMPOSURE, MAKE HER AN INVALUABLE PROFESSIONAL ALLY AND FRIEND.
MIETY, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR TAKING THE TIME TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE BLOG!
Where did you grow up and what were your educational pursuits?
I grew up in the Netherlands and I always knew that I was interested in the arts. Once I finished school I studied History of Art at the University of Amsterdam.
How did you develop an interest in art? Were your parents collectors and were you exposed to the museum and gallery world as a child?
No, my parents weren’t collectors or anything like that. When I was 17, I had a conversation with a family friend who explained the auction world to me, and that’s when I knew that this is what I wanted to do with my life.
Who were the first artists that struck a chord? How did you know that you wanted to pursue a career in the art world?
The first artists that caught my attention were the Dutch Old Masters – the likes of Rembrandt, whose works I first saw at the Rijksmuseum as a teenager.
How did you gain a foothold in the auction world?
I first started my career as an intern at a Dutch auction house in 1992, before joining Sotheby’s Amsterdam five years later. During my time there I also worked a lot in Singapore and Indonesia. I then moved to Sotheby’s New York in 2005.
What pulled you into the private sales sector first at Sotheby’s and now at Phillips? How would you describe the responsibilities of Head of Private Sales versus those of the auction specialist?
Having worked in auctions for 15 years I wanted to explore something new – I had the idea to set up a selling exhibition program at Sotheby’s and came up with the idea to open a gallery within Sotheby’s which we did in 2011. Our first show focused on Sam Francis and was a sell-out. This set the precedent for many more solo artist selling exhibitions for artists such as Basquiat and Keith Haring. In 2019, Phillips’ private sales were up 34% from the previous year – in part because of the time and resources we’ve devoted to it, and our international exhibition program. As we explore new ways to generate business under the pressures of the market, we are focusing more on the private selling aspect of the business.
What was your career path at Sotheby’s? What were your responsibilities when you started and how did they develop over time?
I was at Sotheby’s for 18 years in total. I was head of Modern and Contemporary Art and Indonesian Art at Sotheby’s Amsterdam, and then when I moved to New York I started as head of their Afternoon Sale, before working on the Evening Sale a year later. It was after that I started the S2 program and ran the two side by side, in the same way that I work in both auction and private sales at Phillips today.
IN THE NEXT LRFA BLOG POST, MIETY WILL SHARE HER EXPERT PERSPECTIVE ON AUCTION HOUSE POLICIES AND PROCEDURES AND ON THE POSITIONING A WORK CORRECTLY TO GIVE IT ITS OPTIMUM EXPOSURE, AN ART IN AND OF ITSELF.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT! KEEP READING!