Phillips de Pury & Company (New York art and design auctioneer)



2015-06-26 10:44:11

Phillips de Pury & Company is an auction house headquartered on Park Avenue, New York City. It also has premises in London.

Founding and history

Phillips was founded in London in 1796 by Harry Phillips, formerly senior clerk to James Christie. During his first year of business, Phillips conducted twelve successful auctions and soon the business was holding sales for some of the most distinguished collectors of the day including Marie Antoinette, Beau Brummel and Napoleon Bonaparte.

To win business, Phillips combined business acumen with a flair for showmanship, introducing new ways to promote his sales such as elaborate evening receptions before auctions - an essential part of the auction business today. Phillips quickly gained the confidence of British society and remains the only auction house ever to have held a sale inside Buckingham Palace.

‘Messrs Phillips & Son’ (1879)

When he died in 1840, Harry Phillips' son, William Augustus, inherited a strong and successful legacy and business. In 1879, William changed the firm's name to Messrs Phillips & Son.

In 1882, William brought his son-in-law, Frederick Neale into the business, the company was renamed again as Phillips, Son & Neale. This name remained through the 1970s, when the company became Phillips. The company had a reputation for strong regional salerooms dotted throughout The British Isles, selling everything from furniture to art and estates.

In 1999, the company was bought by Bernard Arnault, the chairman of the French luxury-goods brand, Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey (LVMH). Shortly after the transaction, Mr. Arnault merged with the esteemed private art dealers, Simon de Pury and Daniela Luxembourg who were operating the Impressionist and Modern art gallery, de Pury & Luxembourg in Zurich.

Phillips, de Pury & Luxembourg (1999)

The new team at Phillips, de Pury & Luxembourg with headquarters on East 57th street held sales in Impressionist, American and Modern works of art in addition to watches and jewelry and design.

In 2002, de Pury & Luxembourg took majority control of the company and in 2003, Simon de Pury moved the headquarters to the Meatpacking District in Chelsea, which at the time was just beginning to sprout as an international art district.

Focus on Contemporary Art, Design, Jewelry, Photography and Editions

With a new remit to focus solely on the sale of the best works of Contemporary Art, Design, Jewelry, Photography, and Editions, Phillips de Pury & Company began business in a spectacular and spacious gallery setting on 15th Street, overlooking the celebrated Highline and The Hudson River.

It is in this space today where Simon de Pury, his partners, and team of specialists are dedicated to the company's unique approach to the auction market.

Opening of Park Avenue galleries

In October 2008, Mercury Group, the Russian luxury retail company, acquired majority share of Phillips de Pury & Company to further enable the company’s expansion, including the opening of our flagship galleries at 450 Park Avenue.


Simon De Pury, Chairman

Simon de Pury is one of the art world’s leading figures, renowned for his deep and long-standing knowledge of the global marketplace. He is Chairman and Chief Auctioneer of Phillips de Pury & Company, and still owns a significant share in the business after having sold the majority in October 2008 to the Mercury Group, Russia's largest luxury retail company.

Regarded as one of the world’s best, and best-known, auctioneers, Mr. de Pury’s ability at the podium is legendary. He generates excitement in the saleroom, displays great charm and wit, and can conduct sales in four languages – English, French, German and Italian.

Advisory board

This includes:

  • Maria Bell
  • Janna Bullock
  • Lisa Eisner
  • Lapo Elkann
  • Ben Elliot
  • Lady Elena Foster
  • H.I.H. Francesca von Habsburg
  • Marc Jacobs
  • Ernest Mourmans
  • Aby Rosen
  • Christiane zu Salm
  • Juergen Teller
  • Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis
  • Jean Michel Wilmotte
  • Anita Zabludowicz

Auction catalogues

None currently listed


Notable sales

In March 2011, it was reported that Andy Warhol’s Liz No. 5 is to be auctioned on 12 May 2011 in Manhattan.

The painting is expected to sell for $20m at the company’s Contemporary Art auction.

Main article: Andy Warhol’s Liz No. 5

BRIC 2011 Evening and Day auctions

Also in March, Phillips de Pury & Company announced highlights from its BRIC 2011 Evening and Day auctions featuring 203 lots with a low estimate of $11,657,566 and a high estimate of $17,397,883.

According to the firm’s press release at the time, “the Evening sale will feature 39 important works with a low estimate of $9,474,325 and a high estimate of $14,303,556.”

Sale highlights included Ilya Kabakov’s Holidays #10, 1987 estimated at £1,500,000 – £2,500,000.

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