Art at Auction

03 Jun 2014
3 min read
Leading auction house Phillips deals in contemporary art, modern and contemporary editions, photographs, design, and jewellery. FOUR catches up with Robert Kennan — Head of Modern and Contemporary Editions, London — for insight on Phillips’ upcoming June 12th sale, featuring pieces by Hirst, Warhol and Picasso

Will there be a focus category at Philips’ upcoming June sale?

Not specifically, once a core of works are consigned we start to find themes. We like to ensure we have a balanced selection of works, from the most desirable cutting edge works by Lucien Smith to instantly recognisable modern masters such as Richter.

What kind of buyer are you looking to attract?

Our clients are very international and many actively collect in multiple areas. For example a client buying a Ken Price ceramic may also collect Ed Ruscha art works or Herb Ritts photographs. Most of our auctions also offer works which, for those who are new to collecting, are more accessible and can be a great entry point.

What lots are you expecting to be successful?

I think the Picasso ceramics will do very well, there is a nice mix of material and everything is attractively priced. The Haring on the front cover will do well and the market for Bacon is still strong.

And a few of your personal favourites?

So, lower value – the two Martin Creeds are great, lots 100 and 101. Mid value, the Richard Hamilton carafe, lot 3, is such a wonderful object, another example from this small edition was at the recent Tate retrospective for Hamilton. High value – The Keith Haring “Totem” is such a very strong eye catching work, lot 19. His market is very hot at the moment.

What advice can you give to those looking to invest in something collectible?

Condition, condition, condition. Like the comparable mantra of estate agents. Unless it’s exceptionally rare and old, then condition is not such a concern, but if it is an Andy Warhol screen-print of a Campbell’s soup can from an edition of 250, wait for one in great condition and unfaded colourslike lot 22, the Warhol in our12 Junesale, be patient, they are editions after all!

What resources can you suggest for people looking to do their research before attending the sale?

There are growing number of sites dedicated to finding auction results, all charge, some are more expensive than others, but if you are considering buying, then taking out a subscription to one of these is well worthwhile.

Other than Phillips June sale, can buyers look forward to any other sales this year?

In June as well as our Editions sale Phillips will hold auctions at both London and New York headquarters in Design and ending with Contemporary Art on 2 and 3 July. Our busy Fall season starts mid-September with Design and Nordic Design in London and runs through all of our categories; Contemporary Art, Photographs, Editions & Jewelry until mid-December. After a short break we begin all over again in February 2015!

For more




CHICAGO (Work #1370), 2012

Unique watercolour, on paper record sleeve, with accompanying 180-gram heavyweight vinyl of four new songs …

31.2 x 31.5 cm (12 1/4 x 12 3/8 in.)

signed, dated ‘2012’, titled ‘Work #1370’ and numbered 119/200 in pencil on the reverse, also signed and t …

Estimate £1,000 – 1,500




Carafe, 1978

Glass opalex carafe with enamel paint in colours,

19.7 x 9 x 6.4 cm (7 3/4 x 3 1/2 x 2 1/2 in.)

incised signature and numbered 16/36 (there were also 4 artist’s proofs), published by Galerie Cadaqué …

Estimate £5,000 – 7,000




Totem, 1988

Carved plywood sculpture painted in colours,

183.4 x 53.8 x 5 cm (72 1/4 x 21 1/8 x 1 7/8 in.)

signed, dated ’88’ and numbered 6/35 in black felt-tip pen on a plaque affixed to the reverse (there were …

Estimate £50,000 – 70,000