Portraits of Privacy - Campaign Styles

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Portraits of Privacy

Edward Dolman

Discretion means privacy

The impeccable galleries at Phillips, the boutique auction house, are currently filled with multi-million dollar paintings by Picasso and de Kooning; Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst.

Yet behind the high gloss and glamour of the auction world is a business that is perhaps among the most secretive in the world.

Every day hush-hush transactions take place behind closed doors, and every day works of art and rare objects quietly come and go from the company's worldwide offices.

Edward Dolman, Phillips chief executive, who before that was a 27-year veteran of Christie's, is the master deal-maker and keeper of confidences. He lives on and off airplanes, jetting to art capitals all over the world, convincing collectors that Phillips is the only place right now to buy and sell 20th and 21st century art, jewelry, watches and modern design objects.

“The key to success in the auction business is discretion and discretion means privacy,” Mr. Dolman said the other day standing in front of a colorful canvas of swirls by Mr. Hirst, all the while keeping one eye on his new PRIV by BlackBerry.

The key to success in the auction business is discretion and discretion means privacy.

Clients have to be confident that they can transact without the public gaze — that's crucial to the success of my business.

Clients have to be confident that they can transact without the public gaze — that's crucial to the success of my business.

Explore the lots


PABLO PICASSO
Nature morte, 1937

oil on canvas
6 1/4 x 8 3/4 in. (15.9 x 22.2 cm)

Signed and dated "Picasso 10.4.37." lower right.

WILLEM DE KOONING
Untitled XXVIII, 1977

oil on canvas
60 x 54 in. (152.4 x 137.2 cm)

Signed "de Kooning" on the reverse.

JEFF KOONS
Dom Pérignon Balloon Venus (Magenta), 2013

Polyurethane resin, in 2 parts
24 3/8 x 12 3/4 x 13 7/8 in. (61.9 x 32.4 x 35.2 cm)

Stamped with the artist's signature on the suede interior. This work is number 458 from the edition of 650 plus 40 artist's proofs.

DAMIEN HIRST
Rhodanine, 2008–11

household gloss on canvas
44 x 68 in. (111.8 x 172.7 cm)

Signed, titled and dated "Damien Hirst 'Rhodanine' 2008-2011" on the reverse. Further signed "D. Hirst" and studio stamped on the stretcher.