Art market Magazine December 2016

 
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Simon de Pury 
Courtesy Simon de Pury…
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Simon de Pury
Courtesy Simon de Pury


MEETING

Auctioneer without borders
arm and friendly, impassioned, tireless, a collector, a trailblazer: world citizen Simon de Pury is all that rolled into one. In "The Auctioneer:
Adventures in the Art Trade", published in the United States in June, he reveals a large part of his memories from his thirty-year career with deeply Protestant honesty. With a touch of mischievous pride, Simon de Pury describes himself as a dunce in Basel during the Sixties, and the despair of his parents in terms of his professional future. Art came to the rescue: the sort he did in his free time, and the sort he discovered when his mother got him in with Ernst Beyeler, one of the world's top dealers and connois-

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Simon de Pury and William Stadiem, "The Auctioneer: Adventures in the Art Trade", St. Martin's Press, May 2016, 240 pages.

seurs of 20th-century art. He spent his days cutting up catalogues and noting prices: a highly formative occupation that will bring back memories for many former aspirants to desirable jobs in the art market… So there he was, thrown in at the deep end – the rest is history. Curator of the world's second-biggest private collection (after the Queen of England's), belonging to Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza; Chairman of Sotheby's Switzerland then Sotheby's Europe; a pillar of the Phillips de Pury auction house and recently creator of a digital auction platform (called very simply "de Pury"), he greets you with the elegance of a man always impeccably dressed in a double-breasted three-piece suit. Before conducting an auction, he always eats an apple: an essential ritual that makes this Helvetian a distant heir to William Tell. Our interview takes place on the day of the FIAC preview, just as the fabulous Shchukin collection opens to the public at the Foundation Louis Vuitton. A happy coincidence? At any rate, it gives us a starting point.

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Art Market Magazine December 2016
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