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Artist Damien Hirst shines at Phillips' $10.6 million art sale

graphic
Damien Hirst's "In Love -- Out of Love," a collection of dead butterflies mounted on painted boards, brought the third-highest price, $750,500  

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Warhol's 'Flowers'

More records


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NEW YORK (Reuters) -- Works by contemporary artists ranging from Andy Warhol to Damien Hirst fetched $10.63 million at Phillips on Monday, eclipsing the auction house's high pre-sale estimate and setting records for several artists, including Hirst.

The strong sale at Phillips was a sharp contrast to its Impressionist and modern art auction a week ago, which was an expensive failure when nearly half its lots failed to find buyers.

By contrast, only two of 47 works failed to sell Monday in a virtual replay of the spring sales, when Phillips first tried to play in the same league as Christie's and Sotheby's, the big names of the auction world now toiling under the cloud of a price-fixing scandal.

"Clearly we're very pleased indeed," said Phillips Chairman Chris Thompson after Monday's sale.

"It was a very strong show," said Michael McGuinness, Phillips' head of contemporary paintings, "indicating that the market is very healthy, and getting very high results."

  RESOURCES
 
 

Dan Klein, Phillips' international director, noted that the auction house "exercised enormous discretion in what we took ... and that strategy seems to have paid off."

Warhol's 'Flowers'

The top lot of the night was Warhol's "Flowers," a large piece depicting four bright yellow flowers against a green backdrop. The late veteran pop artist's work sold for $1.87 million, including commission, far outpacing its pre-sale estimate of $900,000 to $1.2 million.

Hirst, a rising, if controversial star of the contemporary art world, had the evening's third-highest price for "In Love - Out of Love," a collection of dead butterflies mounted on painted boards which fetched a record $750,500 for work by the artist at auction.

The previous record for a Hirst was $552,500, set only last spring at Phillips for another study in necrology, "Out of Sight, Out of Mind," in which the artist displayed two cows' heads preserved in formaldehyde. Other Hirst works using parts of dead cows were prominently featured in a recent controversial art show at the Brooklyn Museum.

The second-highest price of the evening went to a far more conventional work, and artist, when Willem de Kooning's "Grumman" went for $772,500, although it fell short of even its low estimate. De Kooning also had one of only two unsold works in the sale.

More records

Records were also set for Rineke Dijkstra, whose "Jalta, Ukraine, July 29, 1993" sold for $52,900, more than double its high estimate of $20,000, as well as for Sam Taylor-Wood and William Kentridge.

Wood's "Soliloquy VI" fetched $110,300, far above the high estimate of $65,000, while Kentridge's "Felix in Exile/History of the Main Complaint" more than tripled its high estimate of $30,000, finally selling for $101,500 after drawing bids from more bidders than perhaps any other work, Phillips said.

Another highlight was Jean-Michel Basquiat's "Untitled," which sold for more than twice its high estimate of $150,000, fetching $398,500.

At last week's Impressionist sales at Christie's and Sotheby's new records were set for works by Picasso and Matisse. In terms of scale, the Picasso went for $55 million -- roughly five times the total take of Phillips' rather successful contemporary sale.

Copyright 2000 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.



RELATED STORIES:
Art pioneer: Impressionist Cassatt's prints see light of day
November 9, 2000
Sotheby's, former chief plead guilty to price-fixing
October 5, 2000
Artists' auction aims to raise money for Democrats
August 30, 2000
Auction houses say spring sales unhurt by scandal
May 12, 2000
Impressionist and modern art sale raises $140 million
May 11, 2000
Rummaging through Andy Warhol's junk
May 9, 2000
Monet 'Waterlilies' canvas top seller at Impressionist auction
May 9, 2000
Christie's art auction fetches $88.2 million
November 8, 1999

RELATED SITES:
Christie's
Sotheby's
The Andy Warhol Museum
Brooklyn Museum of Art
Damienhirst.


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