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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[…]

On picking a living artist’s brain.

Simon de Pury:  mean I would love to sit in your chair and interview all great living artists. I mean interview people like Jeff Koons, like ..., some of the most famous names. But I find nothing more stimulating as direct contact with living artists, with highly creative individuals. Nothing is more stimulating. The wonderful thing is with Jeff Koons is he is one of the most articulate people I’ve ever met. And you would just ask him something and then you . . . the rest would come by himself. And I actually invited him to give a lecture many years back in Geneva. I think it was something like 15 years back, and he showed some large slides of his work. Which some of his work at the time was quite provocative. And at the time several clients got up in the middle of the lecture and left in the middle of the talk. And so I said, “Oh my god. I must have lost some important clients there.” But the next day those same clients called me up and said, “Listen, I’m deeply shocked that somebody who looks as prim and proper as you would invite such an individual showing such shocking work. But despite the fact that I’m so shocked, there’s something I want to sell. Why don’t you come around to my place and I’ll show you that work.” So even by being utterly shocked, those clients then wanted to sell their works to us. So it can have a very positive impact. Recorded on: 2/7/08