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Phillips extends backwards into the 20th century

Phillips auction house has launched a new department with a joint focus on contemporary and 20th-century art. It will hold its first sale during November’s auction season in New York. Unlike Christie’s and Sotheby’s, which combine Impressionism and Modernism into one department, Phillips has no plans to sell works dating from the 19th century (it stopped holding such sales in 2003). “Impressionist works look slightly dated, whereas a Kandinsky or a Léger absolutely relate to what’s going on now,” says Edward Dolman, the chief executive of Phillips. The new department reflects collecting trends, Dolman says. “For a long time now, collectors have been buying across the 20th century. I want to flesh out Phillips’ presence in that market without losing our traditional focus on cutting-edge contemporary,” he says. “I want us to lead in contemporary—part of our team is dedicated to emerging art and will remain so.”