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Ed Clark, Peter Halley, and Noah Davis lead the way at Phillips’s $7.9-million New Now sale.

The New Now auction at Phillips on March 4, 2020. Photo courtesy Phillips.

The New Now auction at Phillips on March 4, 2020. Photo courtesy Phillips.

Phillips had its best spring midseason auction of 20th-century and contemporary art on Wednesday, with its New Now sale of contemporary art in New York totaling $7.9 million, with a sell-through rate of 92 percent by lot. That result was a dramatic increase over the equivalent New Now sale last year, which totaled $5.2 million across 173 lots; Wednesday’s sale featured 195 lots, 179 of which found buyers, and nine of which set new auction records for artists.

Ed Clark, Untitled (Acylic #1), from the series “Louisiana,” 1978. Sold for $462,500. Courtesy Phillips.

Ed Clark, Untitled (Acylic #1), from the series “Louisiana,” 1978. Sold for $462,500. Courtesy Phillips.

Top lots

  • Ed Clark’s Untitled (Acrylic #1) (1978) was the evening’s top lot, exceeding its high estimate of $300,000 and achieving $462,000. The following lot, Untitled (1986), set a new record for a work on paper by Clark, selling for $180,000—three times its high estimate.
Peter Halley, Nowhere, 1992. Sold for $400,000. Courtesy Phillips.

Peter Halley, Nowhere, 1992. Sold for $400,000. Courtesy Phillips.

  • Peter Halley’s Nowhere (1992) surpassed its high estimate of $350,000 to sell for $400,000.
Noah Davis, In Search of Gallerius Maximumianus, 2009. Sold for $400,000. Courtesy Phillips.

Noah Davis, In Search of Gallerius Maximumianus, 2009. Sold for $400,000. Courtesy Phillips.

  • Noah Davis’s In Search of Gallerius Maximumianus (2009) set a new auction record for the late artist, who was recently the subject of a major exhibition at one of David Zwirner’s Chelsea spaces. The work vaulted past its high estimate of $80,000 to sell for $400,000.
KAWS, UNTITLED (KIMPSONS), “Package Painting” series, 2002. Sold for $350,000. Courtesy Phillips.

KAWS, UNTITLED (KIMPSONS), “Package Painting” series, 2002. Sold for $350,000. Courtesy Phillips.

Among the other artists who saw new auction records set at Phillips’s Armory Week auction were Yoan Capote, whose Racional (2006) sold for $68,750, and Leonardo Drew, whose work Number 23 (1992) sold for $105,000. Other high performers included works by Richard Prince and KAWS—whose painted parody of Bart Simpson, sealed inside toy-like packaging, more than doubled its high estimate to sell for $350,000.

Further Reading: How Noah Davis Became a Powerful Painter and Museum Founder before His Death at Age 32