Simon de Pury is one of the art world’s leading figures, renowned for his deep and long-standing knowledge of the global marketplace and his legendary performance at the auction podium. He generates excitement in the saleroom with a display of great wit and can conduct sales in four languages – English, French, German and Italian.
Born in Basel in 1951, Simon de Pury studied at The Academy of Fine Arts in Tokyo in the 1970s with an eye towards becoming a fine artist. After working at the Bern auctioneers, Kornfeld & Klipstein and subsequently studying at Sotheby’s Institute, Simon de Pury joined Sotheby’s working London, Geneva and Monte Carlo. From 1979 through 1986, Simon de Pury curated the celebrated Thyssen-Bornemisza collection in Lugano. In 1986, Simon de Pury returned to Sotheby’s first as Chairman of Sotheby’s Switzerland and then as Chairman of Sotheby’s Europe and the company’s Principal Auctioneer. Throughout the 1990s, he conducted all of Sotheby’s major sales in Europe which included the Thurn und Taxis sale in Geneva and Regensburg, the Margrave sales in Baden-Baden and from 1994, all the major Impressionist sales in New York.
In 1997, Simon de Pury co-founded with Daniella Luxembourg, de Pury & Luxembourg Art, a Geneva-based art advisory firm. In 2001, this firm merged with Phillips Auctioneers to become Phillips, de Pury and Luxembourg which specialized in the sale of Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary art, Jewellery, Photography, and 20th and 21st Century Decorative Arts.
In 2004, Simon de Pury focused the selling activity of the auction house to four main collecting categories featuring works from the 20-21st centuries: contemporary art, design, photographs and jewellery. The new company re-located to the Meatpacking district in Chelsea which at the time was developing to be the international art community that it is today. In addition to auctions, Phillips de Pury & Company handles private treaty sales of Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary works of art, builds private collections for a select group of clients and hosts a regular schedule of selling exhibitions for artists, designers and photographers.
Phillips de Pury & Company has become the world leader in the sale of contemporary art by emerging talent and been the auction house above all others to successfully introduce a number of artists to the secondary market. Simon de Pury’s unique and enterprising approach to the sale of important works of art has made Phillips de Pury & Company the most dynamic art company for today’s market.
De Pury is perhaps best known to the general public for his recurring role on the Bravo network reality television series Work of Art: The Next Great Artist. He appears in every episode of the show as a mentor to all of the artists in the competition, offering advice, encouragement and sometimes very blunt criticism.
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