Simon de Pury, the high-profile international auctioneer, has sold his remaining stake in Phillips de Pury & Company to The Mercury Group and stepped down as chairman.
Mr De Pury, who will pursue new interests, had been at the helm
of the company for 12 years, focusing auction activities in New
York and London on Contemporary art, design, jewellery and
His departure brings to an end an eventful history with the firm
that saw him first take over Phillips in 2000 under its then owner,
the French billionaire entrepreneur Bernard Arnault. Mr De Pury
stayed to run the rump of the company when much of Phillips was
sold to Bonhams in 2001, buying out Arnault's remaining stake in
2003 with his then partner Daniella Luxembourg and changing the
name to Phillips de Pury Luxembourg.
Soon after, they opened a new London saleroom in Victoria with
plans for sales of Contemporary art, photography and jewellery.
In 2004, Ms Luxembourg sold her stake and left to launch an art
investment company, with the firm changing its name once more, this
time to Phillips de Pury & Company. The Moscow-based luxury
retail giant Mercury Group bought a majority stake in the autumn of
2008, with Mr De Pury remaining as chairman.
With his departure, the firm will now revert to the original
name of Phillips, and Mercury have announced expansion plans for
February at their Park Avenue headquarters in New York "by taking
significant additional gallery and office space", perhaps a signal
that they aim to compete more vigorously in the field of private
treaty sales, the area of activity that has become the central
battleground between Christie's and Sotheby's in recent years.
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