In terms of numbers, the 2018 Phillips Art Auction resulted in a drop of 22%, with no auction results over $10 million. The highest result was $9.5 million for Self Portrait (1983) by Jean-Michel BASQUIAT, which was a far cry from the $45.5 million price tag of Flexible (Ling Huo) in May.
Phillips’s online sales grew by 50%. This is a result of a shift in Phillips’ strategy. Instead of focusing on Old Masters and classic paintings, the auction company is now focusing on emerging artists and modern art. The company’s “New Now” sale featured 32 artists whose work is in high demand. The auctioned works drew strong bidding from European and U.S. collectors, which led to a $75 million total, plus buyer’s premium.
The auction house reported that 44 percent of buyers were first-time collectors. It also noted the importance of Asia, citing that 35 percent of Phillips’ Asian sales were to millennials. Additionally, Phillips announced that it will open its first outpost in Los Angeles in fall 2018, located on Nemo Street in West Hollywood. The Los Angeles venue will feature traveling highlights from its New York auctions, as well as panel discussions and private selling exhibitions.
In addition to online bidding, Phillips also offered live bidding. This allows potential buyers to see works before they are auctioned, enabling them to make a bid on a work they love. In addition to live bidding, online bidding has become more popular in art auctions.