Auction Watch: Phillips Prints & Editions January 2024

Details of Renaissance Paintings (Leonardo da Vinci, The Annunciation, 1472) (F. & S. 320-323) (TP) by Andy Warhol - MyArtBroker Details of Renaissance Paintings (Leonardo da Vinci, The Annunciation, 1472) (F. & S. 320-323) (TP) © Andy Warhol 1984
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As we step into 2024, the art market is showing signs of renewed vitality. The London Art Fair has injected a fresh sense of enthusiasm, with its dedicated section highlighting prints and multiples – a segment that often escapes the spotlight but demonstrated a resilient 14% growth amid the challenges faced by the broader 2023 art market. Adding to the fervour for prints and editions, Phillips conducted its premier live auction of the year, Evening & Day Editions. This event featured an impressive 298 lots and unfolded over the 17th and 18th of January at Berkeley Square in London.

Phillips Evening & Day Editions - 17/18 Jan (Live)

  1. Presale estimate: £2,659,600 - £3,837,900
  2. Sales Total Hammer: £3,308,100 / +24% above low estimate
  3. Sell-through rate: 92%
    1. Above: 36% (109)
    2. Within: 34% (101)
    3. Below: 21% (64)
    4. Unsold: 7% (23)

The year's first prints and editions auction coincided with the London Art Fair, invigorating this growing art market sector. The sale exceeded expectations, with a 24% increase over the presale estimate and a 92% sell-through rate, setting a robust tone for the year. The event was divided into two parts, with the Phillips evening sale, featuring 87 lots, achieved a commendable 93% sell-through rate alone, with just six lots unsold. This portion highlighted blue chip prints and editions, showcasing strong performances of trophy works and rare prints by artists like Andy Warhol and Keith Haring. Damien Hirst's complete sets also garnered attention. Women artists, including Tracey Emin, Yayoi Kusama, and Bridget Riley brought competitive performance to the day sale.

Phillips Evening Editions Highlights - 17th January

Andy Warhol

Warhol Trophy Lots

Our 2024 Warhol Investment Guide highlights Warhol as an exceptionally liquid artist, fuelled by his remarkable 2023 performance with a record number of lots sold. Phillips evening editions sale further confirms his standing, featuring 14 of his works. Queen Elizabeth II Royal Edition (F. & S. II.336A) (AP) (1985), was one of the two star lots of the sale, which sold for £241,300 with fees. Although this sales value is half of it's auction record of £529,200 achieved after the late Queen’s passing, it underscores opportunity in the print market for high valued works.

Other highly coveted Warhol prints from 2023 included in the sale were Superman (F. & S. 260) (1981), selling for £190,500 and Mick Jagger (F. & S. II.145) (1975) selling for £82,550, both inclusive of fees. While these lots met expectations, both values fell considerably short of record prices for each print, also hinting at opportunities for collectors and investors seeking Warhol's trophy pieces, especially in light of potential oversaturation.

Details of Renaissance Paintings (Sandro Botticelli, Birth of Venus, 1482) (F. & S. II.316-319) by Andy Warhol - MyArtBroker Details of Renaissance Paintings (Sandro Botticelli, Birth of Venus, 1482) (F. & S. II.316-319) (TP) © Andy Warhol 1984

Warhol In-Demand Prints

While Warhol's trophy prints consistently perform well and maintain value, it's equally thrilling to witness the rising demand and popularity of rare-to-the-market series from his repertoire. Four different Trial Proofs (TP) from Warhol's Renaissance Paintings (1984) were presented, each surpassing their high estimates. Details of Renaissance Paintings (Sandro Botticelli, Birth of Venus, 1482) (F. & S. II.316-319) (TP) led the pack, achieving a hammer price 1.5 times its high estimate, realising £234,950 with fees, coming second only to its auction record.

Two new auction records were established; Details of Renaissance Paintings (Leonardo da Vinci, The Annunciation, 1472) (F. & S. II.320-323) (TP) exceeded its high estimate by 1.2 times, reaching £53,340 with fees, while Details of Renaissance Paintings (Paolo Uccello, St. George and the Dragon, 1460) (F. & S. II.324-327) (TP) surpassed its high estimate by an impressive 2.6 times, realising £40,640 with fees.

Details of Renaissance Paintings (Piero della Francesca, Madonna del Duca da Montefeltro, circa 1472) (F. & S. II.316A) (TP) matched its previous auction record, achieving £30,480 with fees, and hammering 1.6 times its high estimate. All commendable results making Warhol’s Renaissance Paintings a series to watch in 2024.

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Keith Haring

Haring Sets Auction Records With Pyramids Series

Haring also left a notable mark on the sale with Totem (Wood) (1988), a plywood wall relief, emerging as a star lot alongside Warhol's Queen Elizabeth portrait, achieving £241,300 with fees. Adding intrigue to the sale were works from Haring's politically charged Pyramids series, created in 1989. Two prints from this series made a commendable return, after being absent from the market since 2021, surpassing their previous auction records. Pyramid (blue I) sold for £76,200 with fees, surpassing its previous record set in 2018 by 1.5 times. Meanwhile, Pyramid (gold II) achieved £50,800, edging past its previous record of £50,771 set over five years ago in 2016.

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Damien Hirst

Battle of Complete Sets: Hirst's Love Poems Versus The Virtues

Two complete sets by Hirst were offered. Hirst's The Virtues met expectations and sold for £76,200 with fees, marking its fourth appearance to the market within the last 12-month period. However, the spotlight was stolen by an earlier series from 2014: the complete set of Love Poems, demonstrating that rarity can be highly profitable. This sale marked only the third time the complete set had appeared on the market since 2021, and set a new auction record reaching £78,740 with fees.

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Banksy

Buyer’s Confidence in Banksy Prints

Our recent Banksy Market Watch Report highlights a noticeable softening in the artist's market. However, demonstrated by their performance in Phillps sale, Banksy print works still hold relevance. The current state of the Banksy print market presents an opportunity to acquire artworks that are both culturally and historically important at an attractive price point.

Three Banksy works were offered, each performing well and meeting expectations. Banksquiat (Grey) (2019) achieved a price at the upper end of its high estimate, realising £60,960 with fees and surpassing its previous sale at Tate Ward in December 2023. Toxic Mary, signed (2004), sat squarely within estimates, realising £33,020 with fees, also outperforming its previous sale from one year ago. An unsigned print of Weston Super Mare (2003) just exceeded its high estimate of £12,000, realising £12,065 and surpassing its most recent sale in December 2023 by 60%.

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Beginning Of Love by Yayoi Kusama - Phillips Evening & Day Editions January 2024Image @ Phillips / Beginning Of Love © Yayoi Kusama 2012

Phillips Day Editions Highlights - 18th January

Phillips proceeded with its day sale, starting at noon 18th of January, offering the remaining 211 lots at more affordable price levels. According to ArtTactic's, Global Art Market Outlook 2024, the art market segment seeing positive growth was for works priced at $50,000 (USD) and below, reflecting the core of the market. With growing interest in art as an investment, these works provide an entry point into art collecting with more affordable options, from blue chip artists with equally established markets, that would add value to any collection.

Strong Performances From Female Artists

Tracey Emin and Yayoi Kusama

In 2023, Emin left a significant mark on the art scene with her project at the National Portrait Gallery, a print drop, and a new body of work at White Cube New York. As a result, her print works saw strong performance in Phillips' day sale. Four works were offered, all meeting or exceeding estimates. The standout lot, In My Mind II (2014), set a new auction record by hammering at £6,500, surpassing the high estimate by 1.3 times and realising £8,255, marking a 9% increase from its previous record.

Kusama also had a strong showing, with her etching Beginning of Love (2012) emerging as the star lot of the day sale. It hammered at £12,000, exceeding the £9,000 high estimate, and realised £15,240 with fees. This represented a significant increase from its last sale at a Japanese auction house, selling for 1.7 times that amount.

Browse Tracey Emin & Yayoi Kusama prints on the Trading Floor and find out more about the print market growth on the MAB100 Print Index.

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Bridget Riley

Op art master Riley made a powerful statement with a selection of print works spanning from the 1970s to the mid-2000s, showcasing her extensive creativity over decades. Four Riley works were presented in Phillips sale, all surpassing their high estimates. Among them, three established new auction records. Untitled (Rose) (1978) realised £13,970, exceeding its high estimate by 1.7 times and setting a new auction record compared to its previous achievement set in 2020. Two Blues (2003) also achieved a new auction record, reaching £10,160 with fees, 1.7 times higher than the high estimate. Leap (2008) set a new record, realising £10,160 with fees. This work last appeared in 2019, selling for £4,160, marking a significant 2.4 times increase in sales value.

Browse Bridget Riley prints on the Trading Floor and find out more about the print market growth on the MAB100 Print Index.

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Upcoming Sales and Auction Reports 2024

Phillips Evening & Day Editions marked the first 2024 auction among the major houses and showcased the competitive nature of the prints and editions market. While trophy lots remain popular, we are watching these sales closely for a growing interest in lesser-known works as an entry into the art market. Sotheby’s Contemporary Discoveries online sale will run through next week. The next Prints and Editions sale will be held at Phillips New York in one month's time, where we'll provide another auction report. Stay tuned for more art market insights.

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