The Time Is Right for a New Kind of Sale in Hong Kong

The Time Is Right for a New Kind of Sale in Hong Kong

Phillips’ Editions, Photographs and Design auction is the first of its kind.

Phillips’ Editions, Photographs and Design auction is the first of its kind.

Details of works featured in our auction by Andy Warhol, Steven Klein, and Studio Drift.

Our auction Editions, Photographs and Design on 14 June inaugurates a new chapter for collectors in Hong Kong as Phillips raises the bar on our presentation of these three categories in Asia.

The growing excitement we’ve been seeing among Asian collectors for editions, photographs, and design in our global sales tells us that the time has come to launch an expanded, reinvigorated selection here in a way that speaks to Phillips’ global strength in these areas.

The remarkable trajectories of these three distinct disciplines converge with exceptional synergy to capture the excitement of the zeitgeist as never before. Previously, Phillips had included a selection of editions, photographs, and design as part of our Modern and Contemporary Art sales in Hong Kong for many years with great success. This one cohesive sale is a step up that allows us to not only meet buyer demand for broader collecting options, but also present a more comprehensive offering in Asia that reflects the full global scope of Phillips’ core categories.

Phillips is committed to helping collectors build diverse collections suited to their individual personalities and tastes. Below, we share insights on how we’re growing these three categories in Hong Kong to rise to the occasion — with more collecting options to empower veteran collectors and newcomers alike.

Andy Warhol, Neuschwanstein (see F. & S. 372), 1987, screenprint, unique trial proof. Editions, Photographs and Design.


Editions, photographs, and design are featured in many of the most important public and private collections in the world. While some collectors are devoted to one of these specific disciplines, many appreciate that these three categories allow them to acquire stunning works by some of the biggest names and brightest talents of our time.

Curation is in, notes the USB and Art Basel 2023 Art Market Report. At a time when paintings by the canonical masters are beyond reach, new generations of collectors are discovering real excitement in more accessible options, opening the possibility to explore the depths of their personal visions.

Our auction Editions, Photographs and Design represents just such an opportunity. The 100 lots on offer span the breadth of all three categories. Highlights include:

1. Editions — prints and multiples by blue-chip artists including Keith Haring, Andy Warhol, and Yayoi Kusama, amongst works from the emerging, fresh-to-market artists – a combination that defines a Phillips auction.

2. Photographs — the inaugural launch of our ULTIMATE platform in Hong Kong, featuring Steven Klein’s absolutely unique Polaroids of some of the most important cultural icons of our age.

3. Design — an impressive selection of Japanese, English, Italian, and Scandinavian design.



Yayoi Kusama, Pumpkin (White Y)(K. 150), 1992, screenprint, ed. 102/120. Editions, Photographs and Design.

What are some of the latest market trends in editions?

For collectors, Editions represents a dynamic, ever-changing field that offers access to a tantalizing breadth of artists. Maybe not the latest, but certainly the most exciting trend is the continued growth of this sector. More and more savvy collectors in Asia and globally are coming to appreciate the exquisite quality and rarity of editioned works.

It’s an exciting time for editions, with many of the biggest names in the Contemporary field creating editions to reach new collectors. Printers and publishers are emerging to offer them a host of innovative new techniques. And, as interest grows, so does the ambition and caliber of the work.

It’s also great fun to see how artists approach making art in media outside their traditional artistic practice — like Nicolas Party doing mezzotints or Yoshitomo Nara collaborating with ukiyo-e artisans to create the most stunning woodcuts. It’s an adventure of one wonderful surprise after another.

Yoshimoto Nara, Walk On (M. & S. E-2010-012), 2010, ukiyo-e woodcut, ed. 40/50. Editions, Photographs and Design.

How can I prove a print is authentic?

Our Editions specialists are experts with considerable experience. They’ve seen literally thousands of artworks over many years and have developed a keen eye, good instincts, and strong relationships with other experts in the field.

When the work comes onto the secondary market at Phillips, it has been vetted by our worldwide team of specialists and we make sure it is accompanied by proper paperwork and provenance when applicable. Our experts rigorously compare a work to others by the artist, reviewing trusted documentation and the artist's catalogue raisonné whenever possible, and scrutinize the signature to confirm that it matches up. 

What kinds of editions are on offer?

We’re offering a variety of prints in this auction — including woodcuts, screenprints, etchings, and lithographs by many in-demand artist. But it’s important to keep in mind that, beyond prints, the category includes a great range of multiples made of all kinds of materials. Examples includes small editioned sculptures by Yayoi Kusama, Salvador Dali, Allison Zuckerman, and Edgar Plans.


Steven Klein, Kate Moss, New York City, 8 May 2003, unique color Polaroid 8x10 print. Editions, Photographs and Design.

What is the latest market trend in photography?

It is very exciting to see the growth of the market in Asia, and the influx of collectors. The USB & Art Basel Art Market Report confirms that one of the big drivers of the market for photography in Asia now is Gen Zers. The future is bright.

The photographic medium is younger, compared to other media that have been around for centuries. The market for photography developed only in the 1970s and collecting was at first very specialized. Then in the 1980s, collectors began to appreciate photography as an art on par with the highest achievements in any medium.

Collectors all across the globe are still discovering photography, exploring photographers of the past, and encountering new artists who are pushing the medium in new and exciting directions. As appreciation for photography continues to grow worldwide and more and more artists are working with it as their primary medium, there are more museum exhibitions and academic publications dedicated to the medium than ever before.

What are the basic things we need to learn about collecting photographs?

A testament to the growing importance of photography in Hong Kong is Noir & Blanc — A Story of Photography, the M+ museum’s first exhibition of works dedicated to the medium.

Photographs document, teach, inspire, express, and often lead to creative thoughts and concepts. There is a great opportunity now to collect the rarest photographs or collect in depth the works of some of the most desirable artists in the market.

A huge driver for many people in collecting photographs is that it’s an approachable medium they can immediately relate to. Whether it’s a portrait, a landscape, a cityscape, or any other genre they gravitate to, they can make sense of it with their own eyes.

For all these reasons, there is a new generation of collectors who are discovering the medium. They are inspired and learning from what they see in museums, established collections, art fairs and galleries — and they are coming into our pre-auction exhibitions ready to explore, learn, and acquire.

Francis Giacobetti, Zebra #17, 1988, gelatin silver print. Editions, Photographs and Design.

Given photography’s inherent ability to be reproduced, how many prints of a given image exist?

This is very specific to the artist — the way they work and when they were working. In this auction, all the works are rare, but we are especially thrilled to offer an exclusive selection of Steven Klein’s one-of-a kind Polaroids. A Polaroid print is an inherently unique object, just like a painting or drawing. Klein's work not only provide an intimate and insightful glimpse into his creative process but also capture defining moments in pop-culture history. Notably, Francis Giacobetti’s gelatin silver print Zebra #17 is also unique in this size.

Contemporary photographers generally edition their works. This practice became more common with the explosion of the market in the 1970s. Earlier prints are often not editioned, but that does not diminish their value or importance, as there are many hallmarks and much scholarship to help establish their rarity. A specialist is always available to help discuss any artist or print that might be of interest to give greater insight in what a collector should look for.


Thomas Heatherwick, 'Extrusion' bench, 2011, extruded aluminium. Editions, Photographs and Design.

What makes collecting design different from collecting art?

There is natural overlap between the disciplines of art and design. The sculptural presence of many design pieces — such as Thomas Heatherwick’s 'Extrusion' bench — reinforces this connection. Moreover, works of art and design often reflect the same zeitgeist and the sensibilities can be complementary in very dynamic ways. There is also the issue of quality. In both, the materials, technical innovation, and craftsmanship can be truly peerless. From the standpoint of collecting, one important parallel is rarity. Phillips’ Design selection often features limited-edition pieces like Studio Drift’s 'Fragile Future 3.12'. 

Artworks are often for contemplation. But to occupy a space, we also need things like lighting and places to sit. Design pieces actively facilitate the way we utilize the spaces we place them into. We typically have much more frequent and physical interaction with them. The type of seating and its materials — a plush and sumptuous sofa versus a rigid hardwood chair, for example — informs how we inhabit the space — the quality and duration of the experiences. Different furniture and lighting applications can foster lively gatherings or quieter, more intimate conversations. They can limit interaction altogether to promote an experience of contemplative solitude. How we select and arrange design pieces determines how people interact within the space. A good designer can radically rethink traditional reforms to reshape our worlds.

Cross-curating a comprehensive collection that encompasses both art and design is a wonderful opportunity to craft a comprehensive and thoughtful personal narrative.

Max Ingrand, 'Dahlia' chandelier, model no. 1563A,circa 1954,Coloured glass, brass.
50.5 cm (19 7/8 in.) drop, 129 cm (50 3/4 in.) diameter. Editions, Photographs and Design.

What are the basic things we need to learn about collecting design?

There are many different approaches to collecting design. It’s often a deeply personal endeavor driven by an individual’s passionate commitment to possess exquisite objects for their own appreciation. Some are guided by intuition. Others by research — there’s such a wealth of information out there on the fascinating history of design. For many it’s a combination of both.

Collections can aim to achieve historical significance by focusing on iconic designers. We also see design collectors who are drawn to specific eras or styles, such as Art Deco or Danish Modern. Then there are those who gravitate to particular mediums like glass or ceramics — and niche collectors who appreciate craftsmanship in woodworking or lacquer work. Some of the most unique collections are driven by an eclectic approach. A dynamic variety of design movements from different periods can express the unique breadth and depth of the collector’s personality and give life to a fresh dialogue we’ve never seen before.

Studio Drift, 'Fragile Future, 3.12', 2017, phosphur bronze, LED lights, acrylic, dandelion seeds, ed. 3/8. Editions, Photographs and Design.

How is the market for collecting design in Asia?We have seen significant growth in the category from clients in Asia over the past few years. On average, Design attracts 50% of new Asian clients and our remarkable 93% sell-through rate in Hong Kong demonstrates an undeniable growing demand. It's a great time in the market now to acquire pinnacle achievements of Modern and Contemporary design.

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