Take it from us – there’s more to the world of art auctions than meets the eye. Although blue chip artists such as Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, Jackson Pollock, and Damien Hirst tend to attract the most attention at high-profile auctions with their stratospheric hammer prices, they’re really the tip of a complex and highly fascinating iceberg.
Just look at Phillips, an auction house that prides itself on “creating an audience and market for the work of today’s generation of artists”, whose 16 annual auctions present an expertly-curated selection of contemporary art for bidders eager to amass a world-class collection. While they’ve sold works by names such as Andy Warhol, Gerhard Richter, and Jeff Koons – recognised masters of the second half of the twentieth century – it’s equally interesting to take note of their auctions that cast light on mid-career artists and emerging talent, such as Beatriz Milhazes, Urs Fischer, and Wade Guyton.
For Jonathan Crockett, Phillips’ deputy chairman and head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Asia, this type of auction market creates opportunities for some wonderful moments, such as, “Discovering a masterpiece when one is least expecting to, and coming across an artwork which massively outperforms both the client’s and even our own expectations when it comes to the auction itself.”
From conducting valuations around the world to assessing what it is that collectors will search for next, Crockett give us an idea of how to navigate the contemporary art auction market.