Simon de Pury leaves Phillips to Mercury

Simon and Michaela de Pury

Simon and Michaela de Pury

Just weeks before the New Year, the inimitable Simon de Pury left the art world scratching his head as he announced he would be leaving Phillips de Pury – the auction house whose brand he helped to build, but which will now be known to all as simply “Phillips.”

As Baibakov Art Projects‘ own Maria Baibakova reports in her column for Buro 24/7, de Pury’s ties to the Russian art world are strong (and not just because Moscowed-based Mercury Group – whose luxury holdings include everything from cars to jewelry to the Barvikha Luxury Village to the record-breaking Mercury City Towerbought into the auction house in 2008.)  As Baibakova reminds us, it was de Pury who initiated the infamous 1988 Sotheby’s auction in Moscow – an auction which introduced the world to the Unofficial Art of the Soviet Union. Hear de Pury describe the “extraordinary moment” in his own words.

Simon de Pury, Carnaby Street, March 2009

Simon de Pury, Carnaby Street, March 2009

In recent years, de Pury has remained a familiar face on the Russian scene, and not only as an auctioneer. When Olga Sviblova opened the doors to the Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow,  one of her inaugural exhibitions featured de Pury’s photography. He’s also served as the DJ at more than one afterparty

So now the question is what next? Yesterday Gallerist’s sharp Sarah Douglas published a full run-down on the situation, complete with the history of de Pury, Phillips, and speculation of what might become of an auction house once its auctioneer has left.

Read the full story here.

You can also find Maria’s column here. It’s in Russian, but there are plenty of great pictures – including Simon and his wife Michaela’s Elmgreen+Dragset-themed wedding announcement and Jennifer Rubell-commissioned reception at the Saatchi Gallery.

For those of you who might not understand the full weight of de Pury’s departure, we leave you with the following:

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