auction houses

Phillips, Sans Simon: What’s Next for Simon de Pury and Phillips Now That They’ve Parted Ways?

Chanel Hosts a Beachside BBQ for

Two Fridays ago, just before the art world split for the holiday break, news broke that has had even market insiders, in vacation spots from St. Moritz to St. Barts to Aspen, scratching their heads: Simon de Pury, who has been very much the public face of the Phillips de Pury & Co. auction house for the past 12 years as chairman and head auctioneer, was parting ways with the company, effective immediately. Mercury, the Russian luxury goods firm that bought a majority stake in the company in late 2008, had acquired Mr. de Pury’s remaining shares, a press release announced. In January, the 200-plus-year-old company’s name will go back to Phillips. An e-mail sent to art world colleagues by Mr. de Pury’s wife, Michaela Neumeister, a specialist at Phillips for 12 years, indicated that she, too, was departing. Read More

human resources

Michael McGinnis Named CEO of Phillips de Pury

McGinnis. (Courtesy Patrick McMullan)

Simon de Pury, the chairman of Phillips de Pury & Company, announced today that Michael McGinnis, the company’s worldwide head of contemporary art, has been named its new chief executive officer. Bernd Runge is stepping down from the position, but will stay on as a special advisor to the company’s shareholders. Mr. Runge, a spy for the East German Stasi secret police in the 1980s, was named CEO in early 2009, shortly after the Moscow–based luxury goods company Mercury Group took a controlling share of the auction house. Read More


Daphne Guinness and Simon de Pury on Collecting

Stil from "Collecting is an Illness" by Johnnie Shand Kydd. (Courtesy Nowness)

“Collecting is a wonderful illness,” proclaims auctioneer and collector Simon de Pury in a short film called Collecting Is an Illness, which recently launched on Nowness. “It’s totally incurable.” In the film, Mr. de Pury is seated across from beer heiress and fashion collector Daphne Guinness, whose hair is dyed in skunk stripes and swept up in a messy French twist. The film cuts to a close-up of Ms. Guinness’s glossed and firmly pressed lips. “It’s an obsession,” he says and the camera cuts to Ms. Guinness’s legs, which are crossed in fishnet stockings. Read More

Work of Art

‘Work of Art’ Recap, Episode 7: Rubbernecking

China Chow and Simon de Pury on "Work of Art." (Courtesy Bravo)

The art world is in Miami. The Sucklord has been booted from the rarefied realm of reality television and is lurking somewhere, probably in Miami. So what do we have left, here at home, to be thankful for? Why, the fact that the search for the next great artist continues for us on the Bravo cable television channel, of course. On Wednesday night, there were seven contestants left in the art-critical arena, and yes, they were challenged, as all artists have been since time immemorial, with the task of creating art to please car-manufacturing television sponsors. Read More

Work of Art

‘Work of Art’ Recap, Episode 3: Rob Pruitt Judges Pop Art

Artist Rob Pruitt and critic Jerry Saltz. (Courtesy Bravo)

In this week’s installment of a certain Bravo reality television show, viewers nationwide were confronted with a fatal jet-skiing accident, sexual harassment, a discussion about the appropriate setting in which to consume a Pimm’s No. 1 Cup, and lots of boobs. Surprisingly enough, however, there were no real housewives involved. The television program of which I speak is actually Work of Art: The Next Great Artist, and thankfully a real artist (guest judge Rob Pruitt) dropped by before the hour ended and steered the show in the direction of, you know, ART, albeit for like 12 seconds. Read More