Lots of interest at Phillips de Pury

Phillips de Pury’s May 13th and May 14th Contemporary Art auctions have a number of interesting paintings up for grabs, but here’s a few of the pieces that are more relevant to Vandalog.

  • Lot 116. Rubber by Jean-Michel Basquiat. Estimated at $1,500,000-2,500,000.

  • Lot 145. Untitled by Banksy. Estimated $150,00-250,000.
    I’d love to hear what somebody who can see this in person things of this lot. Seems like an expensive estimate, but it’s a big painting (188 x 180 cm). And it’s from 2003, which for me is one of Banksy’s best years. Can Banksy have a best year? That sounds really weird doesn’t it? But it’s something I seem to have noticed.
  • Lot 433. Pyramid (yellow on blue) by Keith Haring. Estimated $30,000-40,000.

  • Lot 434. Pyramid (blue on yellow) by Keith Haring. Estimated $30,000-40,000.
    I love this piece. Not so much the yellow on blue pyramid with a similar design (lot 433). But this one, I love.

  • Lot 436. Untitled by Barry McGee. Estimated $8,000-12,000.
    Not really for me, but perfect for the true McGee fans out there.
  • Lot 437. Charlie Chaplin Pink by Mr. Brainwash. Estimated $50,000-70,000.
    Imagine a Nick Walker mood board, but made by Mr. Brainwash (no offense intended Nick). Ugliness overload. And not only that. It looks so boring. Doesn’t challenge or interest me in the least. But I hate almost everything that MBW signs, so I’m obviously not the best person to comment on this painting.

Some of the most interesting work in these auction for me actually isn’t the work by street artists. There’s a lot great art by artists like Chris Johanson, so it’s worth flipping through the full catalog if you’re curious.

Banksy smashes estimates at auction

Bomb Hugger by Banksy

It looks like Banksy‘s film Exit Through The Gift Shop is already helping boost the price of his artwork, even though it sounds like the film is more about Mr. Brainwash (whose prices somehow have not dropped to $0, yet). This week, there have been 5 Banksy pieces at auction in London, and almost all sold above the high estimate.

First up was the Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Day Auction on February 11th. There were three Banksy pieces in that auction: one print and two originals.

Why is there a Banksy print for sale at Sotheby’s instead of Dreweatts or Bonhams? Because it was a Kate Moss. An edition of just 50, these are probably the most sought-after of any of Banksy’s prints. They aren’t my favorite, but I’m just one guy and the market definitely disagrees with me on this one. The print was estimated to sell at £25-35,000. Including the buyer’s premium, it went for £46,850. The Kate Moss prints have sold for as much as £96,000 before, but this is probably the best price one has achieved since the recession hit.

Both originals at Sotheby’s were older works, and sold to benefit The Luggage Store Gallery. Bomb Hugger and Armoured Car were both estimated at £25-35,000. Bomb Hugger sold for £58,850 and Armoured Car reached £49,250.

Next up was the Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Day Auction on the 12th. They had an amazing Banksy canvas, You Told That Joke Twice. Christie’s estimated the piece at £100-150,000, and it sold for £169,250 including the buyer’s premium, which put the hammer price near the upper end of the estimate. This was the only Banksy piece this weekend not the exceed the high estimate.

Later that day, Phillips de Pury had their Evening Sale in Contemporary Art. Their Banksy was Vandalised oil #001, a fantastic crude oil. With a conservative estimate of just £60-80,000, the results here were outstanding. The painting sold for £121,250 including the buyer’s premium.

Now, as noted with the Kate Moss print, these aren’t the best auction results Banksy has ever had, and I don’t want to sound like that NYTimes article that said “The art market is once again shooting up like a rocket,” but the Banksy market at least seems on the road to recovery.

London’s February auctions

On February 11th-13th, Sotheby’s Christie’s and Phillips de Pury will all have auctions in London which include a fair amount of street art. Here’s a selection of most of that work.

Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Day Auction. February 11th, from 2pm.

  • Lot 230: Untitled by Jean-Michel Basquiat. Estimated £70-90,000
    RJ’s thoughts – Meh. It’s an okay sketch. For the £70,000 estimate, wouldn’t you rather have a kickass José Parlá?
  • Lot 233: Kate Moss by Banksy. Estimated £25-35,000
    RJ’s thoughts – I’m not a fan of the Kate Moss prints, but I seem to be the only one in the world who isn’t. Also, how cool is it that Sotheby’s gets the joke has lots 232 and 234 are both by Warhol?
  • Lot 284: Bomb Hugger by Banksy. Estimated £25-35,000
    RJ’s thoughts – Usually I don’t like the poorly executed original works that Banksy made around this time, but this one I love for some reason.
  • Lot 285: Amoured Car by Banksy. Estimated £25-35,000
    RJ’s thoughts – Pretty much the same as my thoughts on Bomb Hugger, except that the reason I like this piece is the title.

Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction. February 12th.

  • Lot 269: Untitled (Robots Amaze) by Barry McGee. Estimated £30-40,000
    Elisa’s thoughts – Both this piece and Lot 271 could be tough sells as they are not “typical” McGee works, plus they’re installations, but this one is certainly fun. It’s not for me, but I have to admit that it’s a cool piece to observe in person – it has that eerie aura to it that all animatronics have. But how does one get the tag on the wall? Does Barry come over and do it for you himself? That would be cool. Otherwise, how does the piece work? I’ll also add that it is interesting to see both this lot and Untitled (Car Boot) at auction – whether you like the work or not, it shows the wider art world that Barry’s scope is greater than his gorgeous trademark clusters and individual portrait pieces.
    RJ’s thoughts – From what I hear, the piece doesn’t come with the “Amaze” tag, and if you want one, you have to paint it yourself. That is so disappointing. This will only sell to a museum or somebody who wants to donate it to a museum, if it sells at all.
  • Lot 270: You Told That Joke Twice by Banksy. Estimated £100-150,000
    Elisa’s thoughts – This is a strong, intelligent piece from Banksy. The estimate is high, considering the market, but it’s a big piece and I hope it performs well as it shows Banksy off at his best. I love it.
    RJ’s thoughts – Yeah it’s a high estimate, but as Elisa says, it’s quite a big painting. And it’s one of my all time favorite Banksy’s. Definitely one of his strongest works. And in terms of the art market, it definitely helps that this piece was in Banksy’s book “Wall and Piece” and that it’s a total one-off.
  • Lot 271: Untitled (Car Boot) by Barry McGee. Estimated £15-20,000
    Elisa’s thoughts – This works as a cool installation piece within a larger exhibition context and links to the great larger car installations Barry is known for, but on its own it looks a bit dead and pretentious. It should go to a museum, some other kind of institution, or else a McGee fanatic who owns hundreds of pieces and can put lots of other work around it to give it the life it deserves.
    RJ’s thoughts – I think that a museum could do better, maybe will a full car, but a really ambitious collector with some McGee clusters already could make this piece the centerpiece of their collection.

Phillips de Pury Evening Sale: Contemporary Art. February 13th.

  • Lot 18: Cash Crop by Jean-Michel Basquiat. Estimated £600-900,000
    Elisa’s thoughts – This is an interesting piece because it reflects an important period in Basquiat’s history. It’s a very introspective, personal piece, which makes for a tension that appeals to me, but it’s not his strongest work.
    RJ’s thoughts – Agreed, it’s not his strongest work. I wouldn’t care if this was on my wall or not, except for the fact that it was painted by Basquiat. “Year of the Boar” sold at Phillips de Pury back in October for £1.1 million, and that painting looked 10x better to me.
  • Lot 19: Vandalised oil #001 by Banksy. Estimated £60-80,000
    Elisa’s thoughts – This is an iconic crude oil from Banksy. If you’re a fan of Banksy and like this series, I say go for it.
    RJ’s thoughts – Pricing for Banksy’s crude oils can be so screwy that it’s nearly impossible to know what a fair market price is, but this is definitely one of the better ones.

Phillips de Pury Day Sale: Contemporary Art. February 13th.

  • Lot 138: Two works – Untitled by Kaws. Estimated £10-15,000
    Elisa’s thoughts – In my opinion, there is no artistic merit in works like these. The estimate is about right, but it’s beyond me why someone would pay that for them.
    RJ’s thoughts – I’m not a Kaws collector, but we all know one (or are one). For Kaws fanatics, these two pieces would be great additions to a collection. But yeah, otherwise, who else cares? They’re just his skulls by themselves. It’s more like buying a Nike logo, not an OBEY Giant poster.

RJ’s final thoughts – Overall, wow. Maybe not all of these pieces are amazing, but the artists are all top-tier. There are no unproven street artists in these sales.

Phillips de Pury NOW sale

On Tuesday night I went to the preview of Phillips de Pury’s latest auction, Now: Art of the 21st Century, which will occur on Saturday. Overall, I was impressed with what I saw, and it is a great example of how important it is to view work in person and not judge things by their jpegs. Unfortunately this is a website and I can’t fly all of Vandalog’s readers to London, so jpegs will have to do for this post. This auction is a really solid sale all around, but since this is a street art blog, I’m just going to focus on a few pieces today.

This series of prints from Barry McGee (lot 170) is probably my favorite piece in the auction from a street artist. They are APs from an edition of 25. The set of 10 includes screenprints, aquatints and etches. This series would be a perfect introduction to Barry McGee’s work, beacuse it is varied and includes many of his best known characters. The best part is that some of these actually look like originals. Unfortunately, they are estimated at £6000-8000, and after tacking on the auction house fees and all that, you might as well look for a deal on an original McGee cluster for a similar price.

McGee dePury

Judith Supine (lot 177) is one of the few street artists who has never really flooded the market with his work. While you can buy Faile originals on eBay these days, I was suprised to see an original by Supine at auction (though, this particular piece has actually floated around quite a bit). While the jpeg may not look all that impressive, this piece in person is really something else. All three of his pieces at FAME Festival sold quickly, and he hasn’t shown in London recently (and I don’t think he plans to), so if the right buyers spot this piece, I think it could go for more than the £3500-4500 estimate.


A Kaws companion (lot 178). This time the collaboration is with Yue Minjun. I’m not a huge Minjun fan, I go back and forth in my opinion of Kaws, and I rarely like toys, but I think I’m the minority on all three of those. Though after seeing it in person it isn’t my taste, it seems like another one of those pieces that could really catch the interest of a couple big collectors because both Kaws and Minjun are extremely important artists. The question is, does their collector base have enough overlap?


I’m guessing that with this piece (lot 176) Phillips was hoping to capitalize on Lister’s solo show at New Image Art (opened September 12). Unfortunately, most of what I’ve seen from that show (thanks Arrested Motion) was meh. This painting does look nice in person though.


All that I really know about Chris Johanson is that he is a Beautiful Loser and not a street artist. I love this painting (lot 172) though. Art that comments on the state of modern art either works or it absolutely does not. This one works (I think).


Phillips de Pury Results

Just a quick run through of Saturday’s Phillips de Pury auction results (all prices include buyer’s premium).

  • Herakut’s canvas for the War Child charity went for £3750.
  • Only one Paul Insect piece managed, to sell (a print at £375).
  • Seen was quite strong, with a large painting on subway maps selling for £4000.
  • Out of 2 prints and 1 original by BAST, only one print sold and it was at below estimate (and that original was really nice in person, even if it isn’t his typical style).
  • None of the Faile prints or originals sold.
  • Nick Walker’s Moona Lisa, which was estimated at £7-9000, sold for £18,750. Seems like a bit of a fluke though, as the rest of Walker’s work was within the estimate.
  • The Swoon on Mylar was withdrawn
  • Finally, as I anticipated, the two Os Gêmeos giant head boxes sold for more than the estimate of £4-6000, but they sold A LOT more: £18125 including the premium.

For the full results a pdf can be downloaded here.

Phillips Update: Swoon Piece Withdrawn

Looks like lot 393 at tomorrow’s Phillips de Pury auction may have been withdrawn, as the Phillips’ website has removed the lot’s estimate within the past few hours. That lot number is the beautiful Swoon on Mylar that everybody has been talking about. The work had been listed with an extremely low estimate of only £2,000-£3,000 and no reserve. Can you say 11th hour? I guess we’ll know for sure tomorrow though.


Phillips de Pury Auction – My 3 Picks

UPDATE: The Swoon mentioned in this post may have been withdrawn from the auction.

Tomorrow afternoon is the Phillips de Pury Saturday Sale. Along with toys, watches, and contemporary art, this auction has a good deal of street art. I went to the opening of this show on Tuesday, and while it maybe be the best urban art auction I’ve seen ever seen in London and there are only a handful of pieces that should not be there, three items really stood out for me.

Lot 170
You Sure?, 2009
Spraypaint, acrylic and charcoal on canvas.  100 x 100 cm. (39 3/8 x 39 3/8 in.)
Estimate: £3,000-4,000
My thoughts – There are three great Herakut paintings on display at Phillips (plus two “in progress” works). This is the only one that will be sold at the auction. It is being sold to raise money for War Child, a charity helping children in conflict areas. It’s a very powerful piece, and contains a good amount of work from but Hera and Akut.

Lot 392
Os Gêmeos
Two works: Untitled (Head Box), 2005
Mixed media on wooden construction.  123.2 x 124.5 x 124.5 cm. (48 1/2 x 49 x 49 in.)
Estimate: £4,000-6,000
My thoughts – Who doesn’t love Os Gêmeos? Like many of their sculptures, these have been decorated inside and out, and viewers can stick their own heads up a hole at the bottom of the pieces to see the insides. Almost like two works in one. These giant heads are in the no-reserve section with an unbelieveably low estimate. For comparison, this canvas from the Dreweatts Urban Art Auction in October 2008 sold for £24,000. Surely most people would rather have these heads than a canvas. Of course, displaying them could be a nightmare, and they will in all likelihood end up in storage until they are put in a museum (which is where they belong).

Lot 393

, 2005
Hand-painted linoleum print on mylar.  Installation dimensions variable.
My thoughts – Another highly underestimated item in the auction’s no-reserve section. I can’t even imagine this going for £3,000. As usual, Swoon’s work is beautiful, but the 3D installation aspect of this piece makes it unique. It might be hard to see from this photograph, but many of the birds are on separate pieces of mylar and are meant to be floating varying depths away from the way. This could be the deal of the decade.

What do you think? See any other particularly special pieces up for sale tomorrow? Leave a comment or shoot me an email (rj (a-t) vandalog.com).

Herakut and War Child Reception at Philips de Pury

Click the image to see it larger
Click the flyer to read it larger

Tuesday night is the opening reception for the Phillips de Pury Saturday Sale featuring a brand new work by Herakut which will be sold with proceeds going to the charity War Child. And of course, the auction is on Saturday and has work from all the usual suspects in street art plus a couple of cool toys.

Herakut Speaking at Phillips de Pury

Just got this news today which is very exciting for Herakut fans. The German duo will be at Phillips de Pury in March to present and discuss their work. All the info below. Hope to see you there.

Herakut Phillips Presentation

14th March

Phillips de Pury & Company – Saturday Sale

AUCTION March 14th 12 pm

VIEWING March 10th – 12th

RECEPTION March 10th 6-8pm

At the sale’s opening reception on March 10 Herakut will display four works on canvas showing the level of completion of a single piece. The artists will be in the gallery to discuss their work and present their unique piece “YOU SURE?” made especially to benefit the charity War Child. The piece provides a fantastic opportunity for the public to acquire a unique work of art while contributing to an important organization: War Child, an international charity that aims to protect children living in the world’s most dangerous war zones.

“I am extremely grateful that Herakut have chosen to support War Child in this fantastic way. War Child has a strong history of support from the art world and we’re pleased this can continue with such talented and original artists. The support of Saturday@Phillips for this project has also been outstanding. The auction on this piece will raise vital funds for our work with some of the most marginalized children affected by war”. Mark Waddington, CEO War Child.

Herakut – You Sure? 2009

eEstimate £3,000-4,000