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Simon and Michaela de Pury Choose Their Top Works at Art Basel

Artsy Editors
Jun 15, 2015 3:09PM

Photo of Simon and Michaela de Pury at Versailles by Rindoff/Charriau, courtesy of Getty Images.

There are few names in the art world that carry as much power as “de Pury,” a prestige hard-earned by both Simon and Michaela de Pury. The accomplishments of the art-world couple are extensive. Simon served as chairman and head auctioneer of Phillips de Pury and Michaela was senior director of business at the auction house, before both stepped down in 2012.


Although Simon attracts much of the attention, Michela is an auctioneer, philanthropist, and avid collector in her own right. After earning her Ph.D. in Medieval and Renaissance Art from the University of Hamburg, she trained at Christie’s and Sotheby’s. It was while working at the latter that Michela turned her attention to modern and Impressionist art.


In 2013, the couple co-founded “de Pury & de Pury,” a company that specializes in handling private treaty sales, recently of artists such as Wojciech Fangor and Mary McCartney. Simon and Michaela brought their trove of experience to bear as they looked through Artsy’s preview of this year’s Art Basel and chose their favorite works from the nearly 2,500 on display.


Jonas Wood, Red Rug Still Life, 2015, at David Kordansky Gallery

Red Rug Still Life, 2015
David Kordansky Gallery
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Jonas uses classical figurative elements and turns them into something hitherto unseen, oscillating between flatness and three-dimensionality.


Thomas Schütte, Großer Geist Nr. 6, 1998, at Skarstedt Gallery

Schutte’s ghosts are amongst my favorite contemporary outdoor sculptures—unbeatable in composition, gesture, and wittiness.


Zehn Farben, 1966
Dominique Lévy Gallery

Gerhard Richter’s “Farbtafel” paintings encapsulate one of his main endeavors in his work: his color theory. They are very rigid and analytic, and they make one feel close to his mind, while somehow freeing up the mind that is looking at them. Dry, German painting.


Alex Da Corte, August (Season in Hell), 2015, at Gió Marconi

Alex Da Corte’s work is very strong compositionally. He skillfully masters space in playful‎ ways and should be on every watchlist for young artists.


Yayoi Kusama, FLOATING CLOUD IN THE HEAVEN, 2015, at Victoria Miro

A sophisticated, almost flower-like example of her further developed “Infinity Nets,” modeling and defining space with grey tones, playing with light and shaping forms—here in less round, more sharp interforms.


Very intelligent, simple, beautiful work.


Very poetic work about man/woman and the cosmos around ‎him/her. Must be a wonderful work to live with—would love it on top of my desk.


Joseph Beuys, Ecology and Socialism, 1980, at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac

Speaks for itself.


Artsy Editors
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Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019