With a New Milan Space, Phillips Opens a Fresh Front in the Scramble for European Collectors

Phillips Milan is located in the historic heart of the city.

Left: Margherita Solaini, associate director and 20th Century and contemporary art specialist; Right: Carolina Lanfranchi, Phillips’s regional director. © Maria Moratti

Phillips is betting on Italy. The auction house announced that it will launch a new space in Milan, Italy, the latest in a series of regional moves by galleries and auction house amid fierce competition for collector interest in the international art market.

The Milan expansion “underscores Phillips’ commitment to Italy and investment across Europe,” according to the statement. “The opening of this space marks the next stage in building a long-term and commanding presence in Italy, providing the opportunity to exhibit works of art, design, photographs, editions, jewels, and watches from Phillips’s sales across London, New York, Hong Kong, and Geneva.”

The new space will include both an office and a gallery to host curated exhibitions, previews, and events. Phillips regional director Carolina Lanfranchi emphasized the importance of the city of Milan, “the art and design capital of Italy,” adding that it is “home to an ever-growing community of art and design tastemakers.”

The company’s Milan outpost is located in the historic center of the city, on Via Lanzone, between the Via Circo and the piazza Sant’Ambrogio— just a short walk from both Il Duomo (Milan Cathedral) and Santa Maria delle Grazie, home of Leonardo’s The Last Supper. The building itself maintains its façade while the interior is largely mid-century, having been destroyed during WWII and rebuilt.

“The new office not only signifies our expansion but also represents our commitment to fostering a deeper connection with collectors, while also extending our global reach,” Phillips global chairwoman Cheyenne Westphal said in the statement announcing the move. Also driving the new space, according to Westphal: increased demand for art, design, and watches from Italian buyers.

The new Italian initiative comes in the same month that Phillips announced Dropshop, a “direct sales” initiative that has it partnering directly with artists to sell limited-editions works online.

Phillips will be hosting an exhibition at its new Milan space from September 13—15 featuring highlights of the upcoming 20th-century and contemporary art auctions in London and New York.

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