Phillips, a smaller rival to Sotheby’s and Christie’s auction houses, is opening a temporary space this week in Southampton’s former town hall.
The two-story brick building, which most recently housed a Pottery Barn store, will now be used to preview paintings by blue-chip artists as well as watches and jewelry slotted for Phillips’s auctions.
“Like a lot of galleries, we are taking space out there,” Chief Executive Officer Ed Dolman said. “We’ll use it as an extension for our Manhattan salesroom to preview our fall season and also for private sales.”
The 8,000-square-foot (750 square-meter) building at the corner of Main Street and Hampton Road has 40 parking spaces, ceilings as high as 13-feet, natural light and storage in the basement, according to a listing with Ripco Real Estate.
Phillips has the lease at least through the end of the year, Dolman said. It will initially be open by appointment to comply with Covid-19 restrictions. Dinners and opening receptions are “obviously inappropriate right now,” Dolman said.
East Hampton Star reported Phillips’s plans earlier.
Since June, New York galleries and auction houses have beensetting up shop in the small villages on Long Island’s South Fork, where many of the city’s millionaires and billionaires have been sitting out the pandemic. Hauser & Wirth opened a Southampton outpost in July, as did Di Donna Galleries, which launchedSélavy, a “shoppable salon” for high-end art and design.
“It’s become a nice activity for people to get some culture, see some art, socialize with the dealers,” said David Schrader, head of private sales at Sotheby’s, which has been selling art and watches from an East Hampton storefront since June. “It’s a really relaxed environment. You never walk into Sotheby’s New York in a bathing suit and flip-flops.”
Christie’s took another route, making an arrangement with Parrish Art Museum to use its Water Mill location for private exhibitions. The company accommodated 300 clients for one-on-one viewings ahead of its relay-style $420.9 million auction in early July, a spokeswoman said.
It kept a room at the museum through the end of July, resulting in private sales of works by Warhol and Basquiat, priced at more than $5 million, said Alex Rotter, chairman of Christie’s 20th and 21st centuries department.
The fall lineup will depend on timing and the pandemic. “A lot of people are going back to the city as many schools are reopening,” he said. “We will see for how long.”
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