Video: Simon and Michaela de Pury Explain Why Auction Guarantees Are Here to Stay

The legendary art consultants have a lot to say about the current market.

Simon De Pury is a jack of all trades: a collector, curator, and an art consultant. Although he may wear many hats, he is known for his proven expertise in the auction world.

Looking back on the November auctions in New York, De Pury and his wife Michaela, the former CEO of Neumeister Auctions in New York and the current co-owner of art consultancy De Pury De Pury, explain to artnet News in this three-minute video how the results of these recent auctions show how much guarantees can affect the market.

As a result of the robust art market, collectors looking for the best financial package when selling works have encouraged more auction house guarantees at the top level. In fact, $1 billion of art was already secured by guarantees before the auctions began in New York this year.

For instance, the record-breaking Amedeo Modigliani nude painting, Nu Couché (Reclining Nude) (1917–18) that fetched $170.4 million at Christie’s New York on November 9, secured the second highest price in auction history. Simon states in the video, “This work by Modigliani was unquestionably the best work by the artist ever to come on the open market at least in the last 40 years.” Michaela continues, “And the provenance was completely incredible.”

But, as we see in the above video, perhaps more revealing than how fast the Modigliani painting sold (fifteen seconds), are the ten works that failed to sale and the nine lots that sold below their low estimates. The De Purys attribute this to a growing selectivity among collectors, which is an indication of a healthy market. “It’s quite normal that they have to take a breath for a moment,” Michaela says.


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