By the Numbers: A Breakdown of Results From Phillips’s 20th Century and Contemporary Art Evening Sale, November 2023

Get the stats behind the spin.

Phillips's 20th century and contemporary art evening sale. Courtesy of Phillips.

Last night’s sale of 60 pieces of contemporary artwork at Phillips auction house in New York was split in two, the first leg featured avant-garde works from the Triton Collection Foundation, which was formed by Dutch shipping and oil magnate Willem Cordia alongside his wife, Marijke van der Laan. Those thirty works alone carried an estimate of $70 million, with all works backed by a guarantee, continuing this season’s trend of houses bolstering their numbers through the sale of single-owner collections. That sale, which was all guaranteed by third-parties, set the evening off to a positive start.

However, the second-leg of the evening, their 20th century and contemporary art evening sale, was a much more somber affair. Six of the 26 lots up for sale did not sell, whether they were withdrawn ahead of the sale or passed in the room.

Regardless, several high-end buys from a large-scale Gerhard Richter abstraction to a record-setting piece by Jadé Fadojutimi made this evening’s offering at Phillips the second-highest sale total in the company’s history. Here below, a look at how they did it, by the numbers:

  • Total Sales After Fees: $154.6 million
  • Hammer Total: $142.2 million
  • Top Seller: Gerhard Richter Abstraktes Bild (636) for $35 million
  • Lots on Offer: 60
  • Lots Withdrawn: 4
  • Lots Sold: 56
  • Lots Bought In: 2
  • Sell-through Rate: 96 percent
  • Sell-through Rate after Withdrawals: 90 percent
  • Presale Low Estimate: $140 million
  • Presale Low Estimate After Withdrawals: $130 million
  • Hammer Total vs. Presale Low Estimate (revised after withdrawals): – $1.92 million
  • Total Low Estimate of Withdrawn Lots: $1.5  million
  • Total Low Estimate of Guaranteed Lots: $119.5 million (85.4 percent of total presale low estimate)
  • Lots Guaranteed: 39
  • Lots With House Guarantees: 0
  • Parting shot: The tone of the evening made it evident that the pinch in New York’s fall auction season is felt across all three top houses.
  • Next Up: Tonight, Sotheby’s is hosting its double-header sale of “The Now” evening sale, immediately followed by their contemporary art evening auction. 

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