Rounding out the Modern entries, ’s
iconic horseman, Piccolo Cavaliere
(1949), in hand-chiseled bronze and standing 16 inches high went for a below-estimate £350,000 (£429,000 with fees). It was acquired by Los Angeles collectors Betty and Stanley Sheinbaum in 1958 and came to market backed by a third party guarantee.
Back on the contemporary front, ’s
darkly brooding and widely exhibited Die Meistersinger
(1981-82), executed in oil, emulsion, sand, and collage elements on canvas, hammered down at its low estimate of £1.5 million (£1.8 million with fees). Fellow German artist ’s
alchemical composition in amber-colored artificial resin on polyester fabric, Untitled
(1989), sold to another telephone bidder for its low estimate of £800,000 (£969,000 with fees). ’s
four-panel, graffiti-incised composition, scaled at 94.5-by-94.5-inches in electroformed copper, plated nickel, and gold, Untitled
(2012), sold to a telephone bidder for £4.9 million (£5.7 million with fees). All three came to market with third-party backing.
In the post-sale news conference, Hugues Joffre, the senior advisor to CEO Edward Dolman was asked about the identities of the anonymous Picasso and Matisse buyers.
“They’re both very sophisticated, educated and seasoned collectors,” said Joffre, who is credited with bringing in both works to Phillips.
Before he could utter another word, Dolman interjected to add the obvious: “And rich.”
The evening action takes a breather until the New York sales in May, about which Dolman is optimistic.
“It looks very good to me right now,” he said.
All prices reported include the hammer price and that with the tacked on buyer’s premium calculated at 25 percent of the hammer price up to and including £180,000, 20 percent of the portion of the hammer price above £180,000 and up to and including £3 million and 12.5 percent for any portion above that.