Simon de Pury: Does your work have a curatorial element?
One of the art world's leading figures, Simon de Pury is renowned for his deep and long-standing knowledge of the global marketplace and his legendary auctioneering style. 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. After working at the auctioneers, Kornfeld & Klipstein in Bern and subsequently studying at Sotheby's Institute, Simon de Pury joined Sotheby's working in London, Geneva and Monte Carlo.
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, Jewelry, Photography, and 20th and 21st Century Decorative Arts. In 2004, Simon de Pury became the majority shareholder and Chairman of Phillips de Pury & Company.
Simon de Pury: Yes. We definitely view ourselves as also having a curatorial responsibility in a sense. And when we try and put an auction together we try and put it together like an exhibition. For instance we are going to do the first auction ever fully devoted to Japanese contemporary culture shortly. Japanese contemporary culture has a huge influence on the use all over the world. I mean up through the early ‘80s, American pop culture was a dominant culture for young children all over the world. Since the ‘80s, Japanese pop culture has taken over. So when you look at children, they are very much influenced by the electronic games they play; by the mangas; by the cartoon characters; by those toys; by those robots and all of that. So it’s all that Japanese culture that has become universally very important. And so we are going to have an auction which we put together like a museum where we show the best contemporary art – artists like ...; by ...; by the best Japanese photographers like ...or ...; but also the best Japanese designers, the fashion makers, the toy designers; and where we mix all that and bring it all together – the high and low, the best of Japanese culture. So yes, we view ourselves as curators, and we like to put shows together as if we were museum curators. Recorded on: 2/7/08
An auction, de Pury says, is put together much the way an exhibition is.
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