Phillips Southampton, an exhibition and auction outpost of Phillips Auction House, opened its doors at 1 Hampton Road this past Friday, August 14. Designed by architects studioMDA, the space was once home to Southampton Town Hall.
Saks Fifth Avenue, a cornerstone business in the village for 60 years, occupied the Hampton Road location since the 1970s, before it closed in 2010. Pottery Barn held the space next, before closing last year.
Markus Dochantschi, studioMDA founder, said the nearly 6,000-square-foot, two-level space expresses a conversion from historic to contemporary, that will allow Phillips to provide “a new kind of programmed space that enhances the vibrant art scene of Southampton.”
Phillips Southampton will serve as a space showcasing specialized programming. Thematic selling exhibitions and curated selections of auction highlights will be held alongside works offered for private sale. The focus is 20th Century and contemporary art, design, photographs, and works on paper. The space will also include jewelry and watches for auction and sale.
During the August 13 meeting of the Southampton Village Board, Mayor Jesse Warren took note that the village business district is experiencing the fewest number of vacancies in 10 years. “Southampton Village is starting to become an art hub,” he said. “We have a number of new art galleries, both on Main Street, Hampton Road, Jobs Lane, and it is very exciting to see our village progress in that direction.”
The mayor recalled that 14 months ago, “We had a 10-year record of vacancies and a year later some of our lowest vacancies”
“It’s very exciting to see all our new storefronts and businesses calling Southampton Village their home,” the mayor concluded.
On Monday, he added, “The opening of Phillips is great news for Southampton Village and fellow business owners, as it not only brings an added art component to compliment the Southampton Arts Center and other new art galleries and businesses, but it serves as an anchor tenant in transformative space previously vacant.”
Board member Andrew Pilaro, the board’s liaison to the arts community, noted there are “still experiences to be had” in the village at its cultural institutions.
Village Board member Kimberly Allan serves as liaison to the village business revitalization committee. On Monday, she said, via email message, “any less vacant retail space is a good thing, and that it is nice to see some more diverse businesses coming to the village.”
Phillips Southampton debuted Friday, August 14, with a curated exhibition of 70 works previewing the 20th Century and Contemporary Art Evening and Day Sales, New Now, Design, and the Phillips x Artsy: Endless Summer Online-Only sale, along with a selection of watches and jewels.
Leading the exhibition is Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Portrait of A-One A.K.A. King, which will be offered in the November Evening Sale of 20th Century & Contemporary Art at $10 million to $15 million.
Said Phillips chairwoman Cheyenne Westphal in a release heralding the opening, “Portrait of A-One A.K.A. King is an exemplary work from the apex of Basquiat’s career, painted in 1982 when he was producing important works of art, free from the constraints and pressures of gallerists and the art market. This portrait has long been recognized across the globe for its significance, most recently having been included in the groundbreaking exhibition Keith Haring | Jean-Michel Basquiat: Crossing Lines at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne. Its inclusion in our November Evening Sale marks the first time in over three decades that the work will be offered to the public.”
Basquiat left over 1,000 paintings and 1,000 drawings when he died of a heroin overdose in 1988 at the age of 27. A Brooklyn native, he was living on the streets by the age of 17 and catapulted to international acclaim with the help of fast friend Andy Warhol.
Acknowledged as masterwork of the neo-Expressionist artist, Portrait of A-One A.K.A. King dominates the entryway of Phillips Southampton. It features Basquiat’s signature crown motif and gives a nod to his early days as a street artist on the Lower East Side of Manhattan during the late 1970s. In 1986, it sold for over $18,000, a far cry from the $100 he got from Debbie Harry of the pop group Blonide for a piece he sold her in 1980. In 2017, an untitled work by the artist, rap artist, model, and poet, fetched $110.5 million, setting a record for any work by an American artist, and any artwork created after 1980 sold at auction by Sotheby’s.
Henry Phillips founded the auction house in 1796 in Westminster, London. He achieved international recognition for selling paintings from the estate of Queen Marie Antoinette and household items from Napoleon Bonaparte. The company passed through generations of the family throughout the 1800s and early 1900s. In 1970, it expanded to include the sale of fine art, furniture and estate collections.
At the turn of the century, a new team added watches, jewels and design alongside Impressionist, American, Modern and Contemporary works of art.
Headquartered now in New York City, with locations in London, Paris, Tokyo, Geneva, and other locations, Phillips remains the only auction house to have ever held a sale inside Buckingham Palace, according to its website. Its Asian headquarters is found in the St. George’s building in Hong Kong’s art district.
Speaking to the Southampton opening, CEO Edward Dolman said, “We’ve seen a seismic shift both in the art world and in the ecosystem of New York City. Our new location in Southampton will allow for intimate in-person viewings of exceptional works of art, jewels and watches, as well as the flexibility for our top collectors to experience artwork in person; that visceral experience is still such an integral element to appreciating art. “
Additional highlights from the Southampton exhibition include works by Ruth Asawa, Joan Miró, Robert Rauschenberg, Pablo Picasso, Jean Dubuffet, Nicolas Party, Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe and Matthew Wong, alongside designs by Marcel Wanders and Wendell Castle and jewelry by Graff, Cartier, and Van Cleef and Arpels among others.
Phillips Southampton will be open Tuesdays through Sundays, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The opening last weekend welcomed visitors to the first floor gallery, with the second floor expected to open this week.
Robert Manley, Phillips Co-Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, said of the opening on Tuesday: “We had a wonderful turnout this weekend for the opening of our Southampton outpost and we were thrilled to receive such a warm welcome from the community. We saw collectors across all of our categories, from fine art and design to watches and jewels, along with enthusiasts who stopped by simply to appreciate some of the great works we have on view. The exhibitions at Southampton will continue on a rotating basis and we look forward to sharing some wonderful screenprints by Andy Warhol from the Collection of Toni Schumacher this week, which will be offered for sale in our London Editions auction next month.”