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Headlines and Highlights: Week of January 26th

Headlines and Highlights: Week of January 26th
January 26, 2024
Keenan Flack

Phillips Executive Shuffle


Phillips has undergone significant changes in its executive staff following the sudden departure of its CEO Stephen Brooks. Ed Dolman, who previously served as the executive chairman, has been reinstated to lead Phillips in a new role that merges the responsibilities of the executive chairman and CEO. Amanda Lo Iacono, who has been managing the house’s 20th century and contemporary art departments, has been promoted to the new position of deputy chief executive officer, while Cheyenne Westphal continues as the global chairwoman. Dolman, who previously led Phillips through a period of substantial growth, had stepped down as CEO in 2021 but remained active in the company’s operations. His return is part of Phillips’ strategic response to recent challenges, including a 15% drop in global auction sales and financial pressures.

Phillips' leadership reconfiguration is aimed at steering the auction house through a tough economic climate, having experienced declining sales and revenue losses. This includes a decision by the board in October to withhold dividends to its Russian-owned Mercury Group, following poor UK sales results. The changes at Phillips come amid a broader context of economic difficulties in the auction industry, with the company looking to consolidate its strengths and navigate through these challenges. ARTNEWS

Details Regarding Major Transactions Come to Light During Sotheby’s-Rybolovlev Trial


In the ongoing trial involving high-profile art transactions, key witnesses have shed light on the inner workings of the elite art world and the sales of some of the most expensive artworks. The trial, now in its third week, has focused on detailed testimonies about meetings and communications related to the sales. Samuel Valette from Sotheby’s detailed the 2013 sale of Leonardo da Vinci’s "Salvator Mundi" for $83 million, which included negotiations at a dinner in Paris. This artwork was later resold by Yves Bouvier to Russian billionaire Rybolovlev for $127 million, sparking Rybolovlev's fraud claims. The use of code names for major deals, such as “Cottonmouth” for Gustav Klimt’s "Wasserschlangen II," was also discussed, highlighting the secretive nature of these transactions.

Art advisor Sanford “Sandy” Heller, another key witness, recounted a lunch meeting in St. Barts that brought to Rybolovlev’s attention the dealings of Bouvier, leading to further revelations about the art world's dynamics. Heller's conversation with Rybolovlev included discussions about Amedeo Modigliani’s "Reclining Nude On a Blue Cushion," which had been bought by Rybolovlev at a significantly marked-up price. The trial, revealing intricate details of the art market and the roles of various players, is expected to continue until early- to mid-February. Representatives for Bouvier and Sotheby's have made statements defending their positions, while Rybolovlev's attorney has pointed out alleged lack of transparency and mismanagement in the transactions. ARTNET

Collectible Happenings launches site redesign highlighting dark mode, streamlined support, and new filtering functionality. COURTYARD

Dire Straits guitarist, Mark Knopfler, has consigned more than 120 guitars to be sold at Christie’s London on January 31st. CHRISTIE’S

Bob Beamon, famous for his record-breaking long jump at the 1968 Olympics, is auctioning off his gold medal through Hunt Auctions and Christie’s. It is expected to fetch between $400,000 and $600,000. SCDAILY

The personal collection of NHL legend Mike Bossy, including over 100 items, is set to be auctioned at the Heritage Winter Platinum Night Sports Auction starting February 2. The collection features significant pieces from Bossy’s career, such as his Stanley Cup rings, the first trophy he won at age nine, game-worn jerseys, and his Canadian passport, with some items expected to fetch upwards of $40,000. SCDAILY

2022 Bowman University Superfractor RC Auto DNA 10 1/1 Caitlin Clark sells at PWCC for $78,000. Setting the all time price record for a women’s basketball card. PWCC

Grey Flannel Auctions sells a 1990-91 Charles Barkley 76ers game-used jersey for $30,343. GREYFLANNEL

A long-lost portrait by Gustav Klimt, "Portrait of Fräulein Lieser," resurfaced after nearly a century and is expected to fetch up to $54 million at a Vienna auction house, im Kinsky. The painting, one of Klimt's last works and featuring the daughter of a Viennese industrial magnate, will tour internationally before its sale on April 24, marking a rare and significant event in the art market. ARTNEWS

Rafael Nadal's championship-winning racket from his 2007 French Open victory over Roger Federer is up for auction, with Prestige Memorabilia expecting it to potentially exceed $139,700, the record set by Nadal's 2022 Australian Open racket. This significant piece of tennis history, which marked Nadal's third Grand Slam title, was previously displayed in the Australian Tennis Museum before its closure. SCDAILY

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