Phillips expands 20th Century & Contemporary Art leadership team in Asia

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Phillips expands 20th Century & Contemporary Art leadership team in Asia
Meiling Lee, Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Asia.

HONG KONG.- Phillips recently announced the expansion of its 20th Century & Contemporary Art leadership team in Asia. After more than six years with Phillips, having grown the company’s business in Taiwan and contributing significantly to some of the most successful 20th Century & Contemporary Art sales in the company’s recent history, Meiling Lee, currently Senior International Specialist, is appointed Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Asia. With Meiling Lee relocating to Hong Kong in January 2024, she will take on the role previously assumed by Jonathan Crockett, who will remain dedicated to his leadership position as Chairman of Asia, working with the company’s global management and focusing on the overall growth strategy in the region.

“Meiling is a renowned expert and 30-year veteran in the field of 20th Century & Contemporary Art. She has played a pivotal role in Asia’s contribution to our global sales, a notable highlight was selling Jean-Michel Basquiat's Untitled from the esteemed collection of Yusaku Maezawa, which sold for US$85 million in May 2022,” said Jonathan Crockett, Chairman, Asia, Phillips. “She is a trusted advisor to many top clients from Taiwan and has been a key member of the team in raising Phillips’ profile for 20th Century & Contemporary Art amongst Asian collectors.”

Ms. Lee joined Phillips in 2017 and has been instrumental in securing business for the company’s 20th Century &Contemporary Art sales in Hong Kong. Under the leadership of her together with Cindy Yen, General Manager for the company in Taiwan, Phillips has built a strong presence and achieved steady growth in the market every year. Over the course of six years, transactional activities from Taiwan across Phillips’ global auction sales have increased by over 200%. Prior to joining Phillips, her past roles in the art and auction industry include periods at Bonham’s, Tiancheng International Auction House, Taiwan’s My Humble House Art Gallery, Sotheby’s and Yageo Foundation. She was part of the team for launching the first oil painting auction at Sotheby’s Asia in 1992, and also previously managed the Yageo Foundation’s collection founded by Taiwanese entrepreneur Pierre Chen.

Effective immediately, Lihua Tung, one of Phillips’ most senior specialists for the category, has been promoted to Head of Department, Hong Kong, 20th Century & Contemporary Art, with responsibilities for leading the departmental team and its art sales activities in Asia. Ms. Tung joined Phillips last year from mega-gallery David Zwirner, where she was the Director in Hong Kong. Prior to joining Phillips, Tung was at Christie’s for nearly 13 years where she began her career in the auction industry. During her years at Christie’s, Ms. Tung played an important role in winning many top consignments in Asia. She was also a key participant in some of the remarkable and successful sales, including the company’s first Evening sale in Asia in 2008, first sale in mainland China in 2013, and the Hong Kong 30th Anniversary Sale. Prior to Christie’s, Ms. Tung worked in Council for Cultural Affairs of Taiwan and was responsible for visual art exchange programmes.

Reflecting the increasing importance of the Modern Art category to Phillips’ growth strategy, Isaure de Viel Castel will assume a new role of Senior International Specialist, focusing on the expansion of the company’s Modern offering in Asia, and further growing Phillips’ client base for the category across the region. Ms. de Viel Castel joined Phillips in 2018 as the Head of 20th Century and Contemporary Art Department in Hong Kong. She was instrumental in leading the category’s growth and has curated many highly successful sales with pioneering formats in the region, such as introducing Phillips’ highly praised Pantone project for its Hong Kong pre-sale exhibition from 2019-2022. Prior to Phillips, Ms. de Viel Castel helped to launch the first Impressionist and Modern Art sale at Sotheby's Paris in 2006 before joining the firm’s Contemporary Art department and set up the first cross-category sale for Sotheby's Hong Kong in 2013. She started her career at Galerie Cazeau-Béraudière in Paris where she developed her specialty in Impressionist and Modern art.

“Lihua is a highly accomplished specialist of long-standing experience and known for her commitment to some of the most important collectors in Greater China. She has been instrumental in sourcing business for our auctions in the region during her time so far at Phillips,” added Jonathan Crockett, Chairman, Asia, Phillips. “With the promotion of Meiling and Lihua, coupled with Isaure’s new role dedicated to the Modern art category, this senior group of specialists will remain at the forefront of initiatives in the coming year in pursuit of our determination to serve our clients and meet market demands. By expanding the leadership team, we intend to further strengthen our capabilities in this exceptionally competitive art market.”

In addition, Phillips has made a series of staff advancements to further strengthen the 20th Century & Contemporary Art team in Asia for the company’s enhanced sale calendar for its new Asia headquarters in Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District, managing a full scope of auctions throughout the year, including Spring and Fall marquee sales, mid-season sales, online sales as well as selling exhibitions. Below specialists have taken over the role as Head of Sales:

Danielle So: Head of Evening Sale, 20th Century & Contemporary Art

Anastasia Salnikoff: Head of Day Sale, 20th Century & Contemporary Art

Angela Tian: Head of New Now & Design Sale

Sophia Choi: Head of Online Sale, 20th Century & Contemporary Art

Continuing Phillips’ rising profile in South Korea, Yeonah Lim, who has been instrumental in developing and expanding the company’s business in the market since 2020, has been promoted to succeed Ms. Minhee Suh as Regional Representative, South Korea. Lim will assume the full leadership responsibilities of the Seoul office and continue to expand Phillips’ footprint locally. Adding to the company’s Asia expansion, Vy Tran recently started as Consultant, based in Vietnam.

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