By the Numbers: A Breakdown of Results from Phillips Hong Kong’s Modern and Contemporary Art Evening Sale

Let the numbers tell the story.

Phillips's Asia chairman, Jonathan Crockett, selling Jean-Michel Basquiat's Native Carrying Some Guns, Bibles, Amorites on Safari (1982) on May 31, 2024.

On Friday at its one-year-old headquarters in Hong Kong, Phillips held a taut evening auction of modern and contemporary art, selling 23 of the 24 lots that came to the block after two withdrawals—paintings by Christina Quarles and Gerhard Richter. Its total hammer of HK$172.65 million ($22.1 million) fell just short of its presale hopes of HK$175.2 million ($22.4 million).

Leading the action was a Jean-Michel Basquiat from 1982, the artist’s most prized year, which went for HK$98.7 million ($12.6 million). It was offered by the estate of the late Italian anthropologist and collector Francesco Pellizzi, and was the top result for the week of art sales in Hong Kong. (Christie’s held modern and contemporary sales earlier in the week.)

A Basquiat that had been owned by Pellizzi was also the top performer at the marquee New York auctions earlier in May, with Phillips selling another 1982 piece, Untitled (ELMAR), for $46.5 million.

For a complete breakdown of the results from the Phillips evening sale in Hong Kong, read on.

In a color photo, a brown-bronze painting hangs on a white wall. It shows two figures, one holding a sign, the other holding a gun.

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Native Carrying Some Guns, Bibles, Amorites on Safari (1982), which sold for the equivalent of about $4.7 million at Phillips Hong Kong on Friday.

Total Sales After Fees: HK$210 million ($26.8 million)

Total of Equivalent Sale Last Year: Phillips did not hold an equivalent sale in Hong Kong last year, but an auction there on May 25, 2023 titled “Disruptors: Evening Sale of 20th Century and Contemporary Art, Design, and Watches” yielded HK$52.2 million ($6.68 million) across 62 lots.

Hammer Total: HK$172.65 million ($22.1 million)

Top Seller: Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Native Carrying Some Guns, Bibles, Amorites on Safari (1982), for HK$98.7 ($12.6 million).

Lots on Offer: 26

Lots Withdrawn: 2

Lots Sold: 23

Lots Bought In: 1

Sell-through Rate: 88.5 percent

Sell-through Rate After Withdrawals: 95.8 percent

Presale Low Estimate: HK$175.2 million ($22.4 million)

Presale Low Estimate After Withdrawals: HK$145.7 million ($18.6 million)

Hammer Total vs. Presale Low Estimate: –HK$2.55 million (–$326,000)

Hammer Total vs. Presale Low Estimate (revised after withdrawals): +HK$26.95 million ($3.45 million)

Lots Guaranteed: 3

Lots With House Guarantees: 0

Lots With Third-Party Guarantees: 3

Total Low Estimate of Withdrawn Lots: HK$29,500,000 ($3.77 million)

Total Low Estimate of Guaranteed Lots: HK$110.8 million ($14.2 million)


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