5 Questions to an Auctioneer in NY
Miety Heiden, a Deputy Chairman at Phillips. She's also the Head of Private Sales and a new exhibition program. The curated program exhibits some of the world’s most sought-after works from the 20th and 21st centuries, with a focus on approachable works that appeal to multiple types of collectors. Private sales enable clients to become familiar with Phillips without the need to register for an auction or attend a live sale.
How did you begin your career in the art world.
I’m originally from the Netherlands, my first job in the art world was at a small Dutch auction house in 1992. My career progressed when I got a job at the Sotheby’s Amsterdam office in 1997 and moved with the company to New York City in 2005.
What brought you to Phillips?
After 18 years with Sotheby’s, I joined Philips in 2017. I liked the idea of building up an auction house to function for the 21st century: something that could be different from the other major players with a tighter, more contemporary focus.
How have you seen the relationship between auction houses, galleries and art fairs change over the course of your career?
I’ve seen this dynamic change immensely, and obviously the whole community has grown much larger. The entire market has become more global, and as a result the fairs, auction houses and galleries are far more intertwined with one another. Also, the collectors have become much more educated and sophisticated over the years because of the access they have to information on the internet. The digital space is growing and has not even nearly reached its potential.
How do you see the role of private sales growing at Phillips in the next few years?
I see huge potential for growth in this area. In the past, Phillips was not really focused at all on private sales, and now we’ve created a platform both online and offline sales where we can connect with clients 365 days a year. There used to be certain rules and divisions in the art market that, as I stated before, simply don’t exist anymore. Auctions will always be the heart of our business, but there’s been a growing movement to engage with collectors more than just a few days a year.
What have been some of your biggest successes and challenges as you’ve expanded the Phillips X program internationally)?
Our shows have spanned New York, London, Paris, Hong Kong, Taipei and even Jakarta. Perhaps our biggest success so far has been our series of Bansky shows around Asia, with over 25,000 visitors and almost every work sold. Our Carlos Cruz-Diez show in London and the American African American show in New York were also quite successful. The biggest challenge has been spreading the word we have this new platform, but overall I’m very happy with what we have achieved in the last two years.