De Pury conducted the first art auction in Russia since the Bolshevik Revolution.
Simon de Pury: One extraordinary moment was when in 1988 – 20 years ago – I conducted the first auction ever conducted in Moscow since after the 1917 revolution. And that was in the early days when the political changes took place. It was in the Glasnost and ...days that we organized that sale. And at the time Russians were just spectators, and the collectors were American and Western Europeans. Now 20 years later the situation has evolved enormously where the Russian collectors are some of the key players in the international art market. And the art market has become much, much more global than it was 20 years ago. So that’s definitely a moment that I will always remember fondly because it was such a watershed moment in the history of art in Russia in particular. But whenever I sell something truly unique, it’s something exciting. I mean as chief auctioneer at Sotheby’s I handled many extraordinary sales. I was one of the auctioneers doing the sale of Jacqueline Onassis Kennedy. I was one of the auctioneers in the sale of the Duchess of Windsor jewels. I was auctioneer in many house sales in the stately homes in Italy and Germany. So each time it was really, really exciting. But I think my most exhilarating moments have been with Phillips when we have every season introduced new artists that have never been sold at auction before; and have really built up interest in the secondary market for those artists; and have really contributed to making some careers. A lot of the (12:25) artists that we have introduced have now become mainstays in the international contemporary market. And when we started being very interested in artists like ..., his works were selling like around $30,000 to $70,000. Meanwhile his works sell up to $10 million each. He had a big ... at the Guggenheim Museum of Art. So it’s very exciting to see that we have in our own way contributed to some of the artists that we most strongly believe in really becoming worldwide household names. Recorded on: 2/7/08