Serge Attukwei Clottey, Fashion icons (2020–21). Image courtesy of Phillips
Auction house, Phillips’s October 15 evening sale of 20th-century and contemporary art in London got off to a spectacular start when a barely-dry painting by Ghanian-born artist Serge Attukwei Clottey, Fashion icons (2020–21), which was estimated at £30,000 to £40,000, sky-rocketed to £340,200 ($465,500).
Art is quite unlike any other commodity. It can serve many roles within an investment portfolio, making it an attractive asset. First, it acts as a diversifier, reducing the collector’s risk exposure by spreading investment across different vehicles. When traditional assets like stocks or bonds perform poorly, alternative investments like art tend to hold market value, and serve as a hedge against inflation.
And the message emanating from the experts is clear:
- Regardless of any current fads, the future is bright for any collector drawn to the cultural nourishment that the art world provides;
- Even though collectors buy art for the pleasure of enjoying it rather than with a view of re-selling for gain, they also want to ideally ensure that their emotional investment is a sound financial investment.
Young Painters Steal the Show
London, 15 October 2021: Phillips’ 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale
© Haydon Perrior: Thomas De Cruz Media
The 20th-century and contemporary art sale, hosted by Phillips, attracted bidding from 46 countries, and realised a total of £25.3 million ($34.7 million) – compared to a presale estimate of £16.2 million to £23.3 million ($22 million to $32 million). More remarkable, the auction seemed to have marked a telling shift: Art as a blue-chip investment may be taking a temporary back seat, as buyers chased the latest “red-chip” names.
Red-chip vs Blue-chip
(Art by the Classics, widely recognised by the art market)
At the Phillips auction, pieces from blue-chip artists managed to find buyers for prices below expectation:
Sigmar Polke’s Negerplastik (1968) selling for a premium-inclusive price of £3.1 million ($4.2 million) – just fitting into a £2 million-to-£3 million expectation.
The Believer (2005), a painting by Marlene Dumas, who is sometimes the subject of heated auction competition, struggled to clear its £1.6 million low estimate. It sold for a hammer price of £1.4 million ($1.6 million).
Likewise, an Andy Warhol silkscreen of Lenin on a bright red background (circa 1986) hammered at £340,00, which was under the low estimate of £400,000.
Following the lukewarm trend, a Richard Prince text painting, My Life as a Weapon (2007), hammered for £360,000 – below the low estimate of £450,000.
(Art by younger, contemporary artists)
The sale saw new records set, not just for Serge Clottey, but also the following stars:
Jadé Fadojutimi Myths of Pleasure (2017) — £1.2 million, or $1.6 million). Estimate £80,000 – 120,000
Tunji Adeniyi-Jones Pattern Makers (2019) (£302,400, or $415,400). Estimate £30,000 – 50,000
Issy Wood (£327,600, or $450,000). Estimate
£100,000 – 150,000
Sanya Kantarovsky No Eyes (2019) — (£390,600, or $536,600). Estimate £100,000 – 150,000
Shara Hughes Night Picket (2017) — (£869,500, or $1.19 million). Estimate £80,000 – 120,000
André Butzer Chips und Pepsi und Medizin
(Das Glück) (2003) — (£403,200, or $533,900). Estimate £70,000 – 90,000
Flora Yukhnovich’s Tondo (2018) £529,200 ($724,000). Estimate £40,000 – 60,000
Cinga Samson. Hliso Street IV (2016) £239,400 ($327,600). Estimate £30,000
PHILLIPS AUCTION | OCTOBER 2021 THE RISING STARS
Myths of Pleasure (2017)
Night Picket (2017)
Pattern Makers (2019)
No Eyes (2019)
Chips und Pepsi und Medizin
(Das Glück) (2003)
Hliso Street IV (2016)
Eggplant / car interior (2019)
Anatomy of Collecting
Art is a passion. It brings emotional fulfilment. Turning your “collector’s vision” into reality requires long-term advisory partnerships built on knowledge and trust. A Wealth Advisor can support current and potential collectors in pursuing their passion, navigating the intricacies of building up a personal art collection, and securing a legacy for future generations.
Download the Report The Art Market 2021, which analyses the global art market by looking at its different segments, such as gallery business, auction houses, changing patterns of global wealth and art collecting, art fairs, online sales, and the economic impact of the art market in general.