Simon de Pury: Is there too much pressure on today's artists to produce?
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: Listen. We all need to live with pressure. And I think it’s good for an artist as well to deal with some pressure. And what you see is that, you know, when an artist has great commercial success it is a double-edged sword. Because if an artist only produces for the market and loses his creative edge, he loses everything. He loses the essence of his work itself. And so some artists have creatively died because they just went on repeating and repeating the same thing just because it was working. The true great artists are those who constantly challenge themselves and go on, move on and reinvent themselves constantly. I mean one of the greatest 20th century American artists, Frank Stella – who is vibrant now in his seventies and produces some of the best work he’s ever done – he hasn’t sat still one second. Whenever something was really successful and working, he moved on to the next thing and did something totally new and constantly evolved. That’s what a truly great artist does. Recorded on: 2/7/08
We all need to deal with pressure, de Pury says.
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