Phillips, the world’s third-largest auction house, said it will donate all of its commission from Thursday’s high-end art sale – $7.7 million – to the Ukrainian Red Cross.
The announcement from the Russian-owned auction house follows reports in The Post and elsewhere that there are some collectors Call to boycott the auction houseowned by Mercury, the leading luxury company in Moscow.
Philips will donate 100% of its buyers [sic] premium and seller [sic] Commission from Twentieth Century Sale and Contemporary Art Evening Tonight for the Ukrainian Red Cross Society” Advertise on Instagram Thursday morning.
The evening auction, for 20th Century and Contemporary Art, was supposed to be a highlight for Phillips, which generated a record $1.2 billion in global sales of luxury goods last year — 32 percent more than in 2019. Global auction sales for 2021. rose 35% to $993.3 million last year.
But Thursday night’s auction in London, which brought in $40 million in sales, was “certainly lukewarm,” one collector told The Post.
Artnet reported that in an unusual move, “four or five” pieces were withdrawn prior to sale. It included one of the stellar pieces in the auction.
“They could have been cold from the press or there was a lack of interest,” the collector said.
“The response from the sellers’ point of view was a bit disappointing. It was less than they had hoped,” the collector added.
When The Post arrived, David Norman, president of the Americas for Phillips, declined to comment.
On Instagram, some art fans praised Phillips’ pro-Ukrainian statement earlier in the week, while others called it sarcastic. “They’re trying to turn it into something cool,” said one collector.
And while some art enthusiasts said the auction house should not be “punished” for Putin’s invasion, others said all Russians should be held accountable for the country’s actions. Was Hitler the only culprit in Nazi Germany? asked one.
In any case, the collector added: “It is naive to think that everything can be put under Putin’s feet, as if athletes could continue to perform and act as if nothing had happened, as if oligarchs could continue to float on their yachts. It is ridiculous. Russia is a gangster state, like Nazi Germany. Hitler wanted a super-Aryan Reich and Putin wants to re-create mythical Russia.”
All in all, 39 of the 41 pieces on display were sold out. It included the Bidding Wars of John Chamberlain, David Hockney, Francis Bacon, and Claude Monet. The highest price was $6.5 million for Hockney’s 1984 diptych Selfie on the balcony. Icy Wood chalet, As of 2019, it also set a new auction record for an artist: $588,000; It was sold for $200,000.
Philips won’t go into detail about how it screens buyers and sellers to make sure everyone has complied with sanctions. In a statement, a spokesperson for The Post said: “Phillips conducts careful due diligence before doing business with any customer, regardless of nationality. Philips will not conduct business with any individuals or organizations that are targeted by sanctions.”
Retired hedge fund manager and art collector Andy Hall said on Instagram From a Phillips donation: “Well, that’s a good start. Phillips, a well-run, dynamic and vibrant competitor to the other two big auction houses, He must now follow Chelsea FC And cut all ties with the Russian kleptocracy.
“Typical beer trailblazer. Hipster-friendly web buff. Certified alcohol fanatic. Internetaholic. Infuriatingly humble zombie lover.”