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Phillips de Pury & Company hosted its NOW contemporary art auction on Saturday afternoon, featuring works by Haute Living’s own cover subject, David LaChapelle, along with Vik Muniz, Marilyn Minter, Shepard Fairey, and Damien Hirst to name a few.

It is always such a pleasure to watch Simon de Pury (chairman and chief auctioneer of Phillips de Pury & Company) in action on the auction podium; his performance heightens the experience of being at an art auction because not only is it thrilling to bid on exciting pieces, but Simon de Pury’s energy and ominous voice add to the theatrical feeling of the event.

Armed with their paddles, bidders sat in the sunny room overlooking the High Line and competed for some of today’s most pioneering artworks.

The highest bidders would receive a “warmest congratulations!” from de Pury, and those who did not dare to bid higher disappointed the auctioneer who would declare: “How very sad!”

The art market has been a victim of today’s troubling economic climate, but in a “glass is half full mentality,” this allows opportunities for new collectors to acquire works that they perhaps could not have bid on in the past. For example, Suzanne Lafont’s Sac à main screenprint had the lowest opening bid of $9. The highest bidder earned it for $60, to which Simon de Pury quipped: “I hope that you’ll be able to afford a taxi ride back home.”

The next Phillips de Pury & Company contemporary art auction in New York will be held on May 13, 2010 at 7 p.m. and is not to be missed!

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