has launched a fiduciary services branch in response to demand from collectors and their advisors for navigating increasingly complex issues in the art market.
The international team will be led by Phillips’ three general counsels, Martin
based in the U.K.; and Hartley
based in New York, the auction house announced Monday.
“We have each worked as senior lawyers for leading international auction houses for more than 20 years, and have the capabilities to talk about issues globally,” Wilson says.
Wilson, chief legal counsel and head of fiduciary service at Phillips, is the author of the 2019 textbook, Art Law and the Business of Art, which provides comprehensive and practical guide to the U.K. laws concerning transactions and disputes in the art world.
Waltman moved to Phillips in 2019 after 20 years with Christie’s. Heaton, who has managed legal departments in Asia, France, and Switzerland for more than 20 years, brought her expertise in art-related matters, intellectual property and e-commerce, to Philips in 2018.
Major services the international team will provide include titles, authenticity, valuations, and financial arrangements, such as advances, loans, minimum price guarantees, risk sharing agreements, and taxes, Wilson says.
Phillips is the third-largest auction house in the world in terms of annual sales, following Sotheby’s and Christie’s. In 2021, it realized a total of US$1.2 billion in global sales, up 32% compared to 2019, the auction house said in its annual report released in December.
Phillips continued to have a record-breaking year in Asia in 2021, with auction sales in Hong Kong totalling more than HK$2.1 billion (US$270 million), nearly double the results of the previous year. The auction house plans to open its new Asia headquarters in the West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong this fall, featuring a permanent purpose-built exhibition space and saleroom.
“We often find ourselves most useful when important advisors to high-net-worth clients do not have a lot of experience in the art world,” Wilson says.
This service is particularly in need in Hong Kong, a growing art hub where there are fewer art lawyers than in London and New York, he says.