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  • Basquiat's Catharsis led Contemporary Art Sale in N.Y.
    May 16, 2005 NEW YORK.

    Jean-Michel Basquiat's Catharsis (detail), 1983.

    Jean-Michel Basquiat's Catharsis led The Contemporary Art Sale at Phillips, de Pury & Company. The work sold for $1.2 million. The total of the sale was $23.6 million. There were records set for works by Ron Mueck, Chris Ofili, Richard Prince and Martin Kippenberger. Martin Kippenberger's untitled work from 1991 sold for $1 million. Richard Prince's A Nurse Involved, 2002, sold for $1 million. Chris Ofili's Afrodizzia, 1996, sold for $1 million. Ron Mueck's Pinocchio scultpure sold for $531,200, a record for the artist.

    Phillips was founded in London by Harry Phillips, a young entrepreneur. In 1796 he opened his own auction house after resigning as the senior clerk to James Christie. During his first year of business, Phillips conducted 12 auctions. Success came quickly. Soon, the business was conducting sales for all the famous and distinguished people of the day including Marie Antoinette, Beau Brummel and Napoleon.