SINCE MID-MARCH 2020, PHILLIPS HAS HAD TO POSTPONE THE MAJORITY OF THEIR UPCOMING SALES, AS DID ALL THE AUCTION HOUSES, IN RESPONSE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC LOCKDOWN. ALTHOUGH A PAINFUL DECISION, IT WAS A NECESSARY ONE. ART FAIRS HAVE BEEN CANCELLED OR POSTPONED, GALLERIES CLOSED AND NOW CAUTIOUSLY OPENING BY APPOINTMENT IN SOME CITIES AND IN EUROPE AND ASIA, AND THE ART WORLD AS WE KNOW IT HAS BEEN RECONFIGURED. WHAT HAS EMERGED IS A RAPID AND PROFOUND DEVELOPMENT OF A NEW WAY OF VIEWING AND BUYING IN THE ART WORLD VIA THE SOPHISTICATED DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY THAT IS NOW AVAILABLE.
As a result of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and recent New York State and City mandated restrictions on commercial operations, Phillips regrets that we are unable to make lots from this sale available for pre-Auction, in-person inspection.
ON JUNE 15th, THE SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST OFFERED THIS PREDICTION:
“While you’ll certainly see our core business return to in-person live auctions when it is safe to do so, we’ve witnessed the effectiveness of the online-only platform and the interest it has attracted, which is certainly making it one of our key services and options for our clients. This is something that was in the works well in advance of Covid-19, and you’ll see it remain a pillar … after it as well.”
The transition of sales from in person to online has allowed these forward-thinking auction houses to further develop and fine-tune online sales – and no one is bidding against the phenomenon remaining strong when live auctions eventually resume.
PHILLIPS WILL HOLD ITS 20th CENTURY AND A CONTEMPORARY ART EVENING SALE, NEW YORK, ON JULY 2, 2020.
“We live in strange days,” Phillips’ Robert Manley, Worldwide Co-Head of 20th Century and Contemporary Art, said. “But the way I see it is that for every season, every auction you have to take the temperature of what people looking for and buying and those are the things we go after. This season in a way is no different.”
Manley said that Phillips plans to make the July 2 sale as similar to any of its other evening sales before the pandemic. The works are still being heavily researched and with accompanying catalogue essays, to be published online instead of in a printed book. Potential bidders will still have the opportunity to view the painting, but it will most likely be on an appointment-only basis. And the sale will take place with a live auctioneer, though most likely bidders will not be allowed in the salesroom.
HERE TODAY, MIETY HEIDEN, DEPUTY CHAIR, HEAD OF PRIVATE SALES AND PHILLIPS X, THEIR ONLINE PLATFORM, WILL SHARE HER PERSPECTIVE ON THE FUTURE OF THE ART MARKET IN GENERAL AND PHILLIPS IN PARTICULAR IN OUR ALMOST POST-PANDEMIC WORLD.
What are your aims and goals in growing the private sales department at Phillips? Are there changes you would like to make in how the private sales department works?
Our private sales department at Phillips is growing and developing as we speak. We are running an exhibition program in all three of our selling locations – London, New York and Hong Kong – and we also have pop- ups all around the world. We work with dealers, curators and artists directly, and are looking into digital private sales as well.
As always, our sales will feature significant examples from a variety of modern, post-war, and contemporary masters.
Do you think the trend towards the private sales sector will continue to increase and, if so, why?
I definitely think there is huge potential for growth in this area. Whilst the auction process still forms the backbone of our business, the ability to engage with our collectors all year round on a more personal and direct platform is a very important and expanding avenue.
IT HAS BEEN A DELIGHT TO POST THIS INTERVIEW WITH MIETY AND THE LRFA BLOG SO APPRECIATES HER CONTRIBUTION OF TIME, EXPERTISE AND INSIGHT.
THANK YOU, MIETY!