Phillips Beefs Up Its Asia Leadership as the House Continues to Expand in the Region

The management reshuffle and new appointments reflect the auction house's renewed ambition in the increasingly competitive region.

Meiling Lee, Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Asia, Phillips. Courtesy of Phillips.

Phillips is expanding its footprints in Asia further by beefing up the leadership of its 20th century and contemporary art department in region following the opening of its new regional headquarters in Hong Kong last year. It has named industry veteran Meiling Lee as the new head of the department in Asia alongside a series of new appointments across the region.

Currently senior international specialist based in Taiwan, Lee will be relocating to Hong Kong, where Phillips’s Asia headquarters is located, to take up the new role of Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Asia, in January 2024, taking the baton from Jonathan Crockett, who has also been leading the house’s operation in the region as chairman of Asia. Crockett will be focusing on his Asia chairman role, working on the region’s overall development with the house’s global management.

Lihua Tung, Head of Department, Hong Kong, 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Phillips.

Lihua Tung, Head of Department, Hong Kong, 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Phillips. Courtesy of Phillips.

An industry veteran with 30 years of experience under her belt, Lee has worked for several major auction houses, galleries, and Taiwanese collector Pierre Chen’s Yageo Foundation prior to joining Phillips in 2017. She has helped to orchestrate numerous important sales including the sale of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s 1982 untitled work owned by Japanese collector Yusaku Maezawa. The prized work sold for a whopping $85 million, including fees, at a Phillips auction in New York in May 2022. Transactional activities from Taiwan across the house’s global sales grew by more than 200 percent over the past six years, Phillips said.

Phillips promoted Lihua Tung to head of department, Hong Kong, 20th century and contemporary art. Tung joined the house last year with a bulk of experience in greater China after serving as director of David Zwirner in Hong Kong and 13 years as executive at Christie’s Asia.

Isaure de Viel Castel, Senior International Specialist, 20th Century & Contemporary Art

Isaure de Viel Castel, Senior International Specialist, 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Phillips. Courtesy of Phillips.

The house also named Isaure de Viel Castel as senior international specialist, who will be in-charge of the house’s offering of this modern art in the region. She joined Phillips in 2018 as the head of the department in Hong Kong. “By expanding the leadership team, we intend to further strengthen our capabilities in this exceptionally competitive art market,” Crockett said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Phillips also made new appointments under the 20th century and contemporary art department: Danielle So will take up the head of evening sale; Anastasia Salnikoff is the new head of day sale; Angela Tian will assume the head of New Now and Design sale, which just inaugurated in Hong Kong last month; Sophia Choi will be the new head of online sale.

Yeonah Lim will be the house’s regional representative in South Korea to lead the house’s Seoul operation. Vy Tran has been appointed as the house’s consultant in Vietnam.

In addition to new appointments, it is understood that Phillips will announce a new sales calendar for Asia in 2024. The New Now and Design sale will be taking place in spring, coinciding with Art Basel Hong Kong towards the end of March. Further announcements about the sales calendar will be made in the near future.

Phillips is not the only house that is making ambitious moves. Sotheby’s and Christie’s are both expected to open their new Asia flagships in Hong Kong next year.


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