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Phillips Paves a New Direction in Collecting

Episode 3

May 13, 2019

Two Radical Collections: From 20th Century to Contemporary Art

On May 15 and 16, Phillips will present two highly anticipated auctions: The 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening and Day Sales. The sales are headlined by two statement collections—Property from the Miles and Shirley Fiterman Collection and To Repel Ghosts: Important Works by Jean-Michel Basquiat from the Collection of Matt Dike, each containing works by some of the most famous names in art, including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, and Roy Lichtenstein.

Phillips

Courtesy of Phillips.

Phillips’ 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale leads with works from the seminal Miles and Shirley Fiterman Collection, which will also have works presented across the auction house’s salerooms in Hong Kong and London throughout 2019. Highlighted artists from the collection include works by artists like Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Alexander Calder, Donald Judd, David Hockney, Robert Motherwell, and Joan Miró. Bridging the Modern, Post-War, and Contemporary periods, the pieces are also the first to utilize Phillips’ newest exhibition space, “The Cube,” at 432 Park Avenue.

Phillips

The Cube, courtesy of Phillips.

In the early 1960s, the Fitermans began collecting art while living in Minnesota, Florida, and New York. Ever since, they’ve distinguished themselves as esteemed collectors with a unique vision and an engaged approach. The couple’s unmatched dedication was furthered by their affiliations with numerous philanthropic initiatives and museum boards, as well as the personal relationships they developed with the artists they admired most.

Phillips

Andy Warhol, David Hockney, 1974; courtesy of Phillips.

The Fiterman Collection is also respected for its roster of works that were acquired soon after their creation, like David Hockney’s Study for Parade, 1981, Donald Judd’s Untitled, 1970, and Andy Warhol’s David Hockney, 1974.

Phillips

Courtesy of Phillips.

And while many of the works have been seen publicly at museums and institutions like the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Institute of Art in Minnesota, and the Norton Gallery School of Art in West Palm Beach, a large contingent have not been seen since acquisition.

Phillips

Andy Warhol, Miles Fiterman, 1975, Shirley Fiterman, 1976, The Andy Warhol Foudnation for Visual Arts 2019, courtesy of Phillips.

“Miles and Shirley Fiterman have assembled an extraordinary collection that incorporates the very best examples across a breadth of artistic movements,” said Robert Manley and Jean-Paul Engelen, Phillips’ Worldwide Co-Heads of 20th Century & Contemporary Art. “Their vision and discerning eye helped to shape the course of the art historical canon of the 20th century, as they championed artists such as Alexander Calder, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, and helped museums to acquire and exhibit challenging works of art. The works being offered at Phillips this year are a testament to their keen connoisseurship and adventurous spirit.”

Phillips

Matt Dike with a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat, 1984, photo by Brad Branson Photography Estate, Artwork, © 2019 The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat, courtesy of Phillips.

Next, we’re taking a look into the collection of Matt Dike—a legendary music producer and the Co-Founder of Delicious Vinyl. The eventual music mogul got his start working in the art world, beginning his career as a gallery assistant for Larry Gagosian. Through that relationship, Dike and Basquiat developed a collaborative friendship that would change both of their lives.

Phillips

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled (Standing Male Figure), 1982-1983, courtesy of Phillips.

Though the two first met in 1970s New York, it wasn’t until 1982 that they met again as Basquiat presented his first solo show at Gagosian’s Los Angeles gallery. Dike, still a young assistant, was tasked with driving and assisting the artist during his stint on the west coast.

Phillips

Matt Dike and Jean-Michel Basquiat hanging artwork in Basquiat’s studio in Larry Gagosian’s home, Venice, California, 1982–1983, photo by Brian David Williams, courtesy of Phillips.

This chance encounter led to Dike becoming Basquiat’s friend and confidant. It was during this time in the early 1980s that Dike acquired the six works of Basquiat’s that will be included in Phillips’ sale—two offered in the evening sale, and four works on paper in the day sale.

Phillips

Courtesy of Phillips.

Among the most striking works in the sale is Basquiat’s striking Self Portrait, 1983, painted on two found wooden doors—a technique the artist pioneered during the early time of his and Dike’s relationship. The self-portrait is one of the significant examples to ever be offered at auction, with no comparable self-portraits offered in over 20 years.

“This selection of works by Jean-Michel Basquiat presents a cross-section of important themes for the artist and includes the largest and most complex of the ground-breaking silhouette self-portraits Jean-Michel painted between 1982 and 1985,” said Scott Nussbaum, Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, New York at Phillips.

Phillips

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Flexible, 1984, courtesy of Phillips.

This lot continues the theme of Phillips presenting the artist’s works on unconventional materials, following last year’s sale of Flexible, 1984, for over $45 million, which was painted on wood slat fencing.

Phillips

Jean-Michael Basquiat, Figure, 1982, courtesy of Phillips.

“Showcasing the extraordinary legacy of Matt Dike, these works offer long overdue insights into the valued role he played in Basquiat’s life, as well as the way the city of Los Angeles provided the artist the freedom and inspiration he sought while grappling with the pressures of fame and success,” continued Nussbaum. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase these important works of art, many of which have never been seen publicly.”

For more information and inspiration, follow Phillips on Instagram.

Phillips is a contemporary auction house founded on innovation and dedicated to the art of collecting. Visit phillips.com to learn more and sign up.

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