Simon de Pury: How do you handle the stress of an auction?

Its a high-wire act, says de Pury.
  • Transcript

TRANSCRIPT

Simon de Pury:  It is of course a high wire act. It is always maximum pressure because you can’t prepare yourself really. I mean you do prepare yourself. You look at the seating plan. You study very carefully who has expressed interest in which work, but of course there is no script. You don’t know how it’s going to do, and then you have to improvise. And what you try and do as an auctioneer is really create excitement, make it fun, make it amusing. Even for people who are there just to watch it, you want it to be entertaining. It’s . . . So that’s . . . You make it as lively as possible. You change the rhythm. The way you put the sales together also has a big influence. I mean you have strong moments, lesser moments. And you have to put it together like a theater play. So all of that is part of it. Now like every artist, like every person there, you have good days and sometimes less good days. Sometimes you are in better shape than in others, but you try even if things were not going as well as you would hope to, to remain cheerful and positive, and not to then pass on a feeling of gloom to your audience. Recorded on: 2/7/08