LiveArt After Action Report: 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening and Day Sales (Phillips Hong Kong)

The full breakdown of the Day and Evening sales at Phillips this week highlighting the continued demand for women artists, the power of online bidders, and the artists to watch


A New Day Dawns: Phillips Hong Kong sales cycle for June made HKD 357 million ($45 million). The sales were split HKD 214 million for the Evening sale and HKD 143 million for the Day portion. That’s 40% of the value coming from the day sale, which shows not only the extent to which Phillips caters to the interest in emerging artists but also the level of demand from buyers for new talent. 42% of Day sale lots made prices above estimates; 48% of Evening sale lots did, too. 

The Future is Female: Phillips was also careful to note that 90% of the works by female artists that were offered made prices above the estimates. 

LiveArt’s After Action Report for the Evening sale is here. The Evening sale had a relatively weak hammer ratio of 1.14 and an average price of HKD 4 million ($520,000)

LiveArt’s After Action Report for the Day sale is here. The Day sale had a very strong hammer ratio of 1.28 and an average price of HKD 1 million ($130,000)

Online Buyers Represent: To underscore this point, Phillips released some numbers on the level of online bidding for the Day sale. According to Isaure de Viel Castel, the Day sale had 600 participants from 45 countries with 50% of the sale total going to online buyers. 

A Well-Managed Sale: Sell-through rates were quite strong for both the Day and Evening sales. In the Evening sale, 42 of 44 lots offered (5 were withdrawn from the sale) sold resulting in a 95% sell through rate. The Day sale was also well-managed with 196 lots offered (and an additional 11 withdrawn) and 179 sold for a 91.3% sell-through rate. 

Pick a Winner: The winners in this week’s sales were Ayako Rokkaku who sold four works in the Hong Kong sales for a total of $1.8m, including her second highest price of $1.033 million for an untitled 2019 work. Roby Dwi Antono sold two works for nearly $300,000. One Lintang from 2018 was his third highest price. Lucy Bull’s 8:50, her second work to arrive at auction, made a HKD 1.38 million ($1.45 million) further advancing her top price. Trey Abdella made a record at HKD 2.64 million ($337,100) during the Evening sale. Ben Sledsens, Alexander Carver, Gina Beavers, Kim Sou Sou, Jansson Stegner and Zhang Zipiao all achieved new record prices in the five and six figure range. 

“Who Doesn’t Love a Katherine Bernhardt Pink Panther?” asked auctioneer Jonathan Crockett: Bernhardt saw three works sell for a little more than $910,000. The highest price being for Panther Hurricane in the Day sale which made $353,108 compared to the Evening sale Laundry Day which did the worst of the three at $272,867.

Nava Hits His Stride: Robert Nava proved there’s a strong market for his work when two works made nearly $1 million achieving his 3rd and 4th highest prices. 

The Toast of the Market: One of the surprise hits of the Day sale has a lot of advisors and dealers excited. Ulala Imai paints still lifes of toys and toast. Her work was selling for prices in the low five figures until May when Cooking in 3 min from 2018 made $153,892 in Tokyo. Phillips followed that with $128,403 during the day sale. Observers say that many of the artist’s early buyers are eager to cash in at the new price level.

Asia Loves George Condo: Four works sold for more than $6 million. Transparent Female Forms from 2009 topped the Evening sale and made up the lion’s share of the Condo total at $4.65 million. His Green Seated Woman from 2006 was also the top Day sale lot at $690,253. 

Artist in Demand: LiveArt Trading Floor requests have been mentioning Park Seo-Bo. Phillips sale gave proof to the demand when Ecriture No. 051206 from 2005 sold for $385,258, well above estimates. View the full results from both sales plus other reports by LiveArt here.

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