Skip to content

Phillips Auction Faced Its Biggest Test in Years—and Passed With $66.9 Million

  • Willem De Kooning's swirling abstract fetches $11.4 million
  • Underdog's bet on mixing blue chip, younger artists pays off

Phillips’s push to strengthen its brand under its new chief executive officer passed an important test as the auction house’s hybrid sale of 20th century and contemporary art tallied $66.9 million.

The sale on Sunday in New York cleared its low estimate of $64.4 million, and was a 28.7 percent increase over the same event last year. Willem De Kooning’s 5-foot-tall abstract painting with swirling white, yellow and red brushstrokes was the most expensive, fetching $11.4 million, just above its low estimate of $10 million. Of the 51 lots offered, 82 percent sold.