Phillips is the destination for international collectors to buy and sell the world’s most important twentieth-century and contemporary works of art, design, jewels, watches, photographs and editions. By focusing specifically on the defining aesthetic movements of the last century, we have set ourselves apart as the most dynamic and forward-thinking auction house in the world. Our global presence, seasoned expertise and individualized client service lead collectors to seek our guidance on market trends and insights.
The Phillips team is comprised of specialists from auction houses, museums, galleries and other leading arts institutions. In addition to conducting auctions in our New York, London, Hong Kong and Geneva salerooms, we hold private sales and curated selling exhibitions around the world. Outside of the opportunities we provide to consign or buy through auctions and private sales, we consult with museums, advise private estates and corporate clients and offer appraisals, valuations and other financial services.
History of Phillips
Harry Phillips founded the auction house in 1796 in Westminster, London. Phillips gained international recognition by selling paintings from the estate of Queen Marie Antoinette and household items from Napoleon Bonaparte, and it remains the only auction house to have ever held a sale inside Buckingham Palace. Harry Phillips was an innovator who combined business acumen with showmanship, introducing elaborate evening receptions before auctions – a standard practice in the auction business today.
Ownership of the company passed through Harry’s son and successors through the 1800s and early 1900s. By the 1970s, Phillips had expanded its categories to sell fine art, furniture and estate collections.
Bernard Arnault of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton purchased the company in 1999 and shortly thereafter merged with esteemed private art dealers Simon de Pury and Daniela Luxembourg. The new team introduced sales of watches, jewels and design alongside Impressionist, American, Modern and Contemporary works of art. In 2002, Simon de Pury acquired a majority stake in the company.
In October 2008, luxury retail company Mercury Group acquired a majority stake to enable the company’s ongoing expansion. By February 2013, Mercury Group completed its acquisition and moved the business from Chelsea to 450 Park Avenue in New York. October 2014 heralded the opening of a new London headquarters at 30 Berkeley Square in Mayfair.
In July 2014, Chief Executive Officer Edward Dolman joined Phillips after a 27-year career at Christie’s. Bringing a wealth of experience, Dolman attracted highly qualified senior staff including Chairwoman Cheyenne Westphal, who joined the auction house in 2017. Shortly after the start of Dolman’s tenure, Phillips held its first auctions in Hong Kong in 2015, and it currently presents all categories including art, design, jewels and watches in the fast-growing Asian market. Outside of Hong Kong, Phillips has regional representatives and galleries across Jakarta, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Taipei and Tokyo. In 2018, Phillips moved its Asia headquarters to the prestigious St. George’s building in Hong Kong’s art district.
The firm launched Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo in November 2014, which has become the global market leader for the finest collectors’ watches at auction. Under the leadership of Aurel Bacs and Livia Russo, Phillips has multiple world auction records to its name. Also in recent years, Phillips has relaunched its Jewels category with auctions, private sales and curated selling exhibitions across Hong Kong, New York and London.
Today, Phillips is a premier destination for buyers and sellers of modern, post-war, contemporary, American and Latin American works of art in addition to watches, jewels, design, photographs, works on paper and editions. In 2020, the company’s New York branch will move its headquarters to 432 Park Avenue.