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18 April 2021

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PHILLIPS DE PURY & COMPANY’S RUSSIAN HORIZONS

bmir, Business mir #13 - 2009-03 MAIL PRINT 
The auction house’s take-over by luxury group Mercury marks a new milestone on the road to Russia.
The future is increasingly taking shape on Russian soil for the auction house Phillips de Pury & Company. Already a leader in the Russian contemporary arts market for a number of years now, the company became part of Moscow’s luxury giant, the Mercury Group, this autumn. The sale occurred at the best of times in the world’s art market, buoyed up by contemporary painting and the performing arts. According to “Cyclop’s” latest annual markets report, auctions alone saw turn-over jump up 37 per cent from 2006 to 2007, which represents a total sum of 15 billion dollars.
Phillips de Pury & Company’s own sales shot up 125 per cent to hit 308 million dollars last year. In the first quarter of 2008 they went up 95 per cent – all the more reason to anchor this rapid growth spurt by building a strong partnership. “Working with a major player in the Russian economy allows us to spread our international reach into an important emerging market,” says spokesperson Ariel Childs. “We’ve been a leading contemporary arts company in recent years, and as such we were an attractive asset that fit in nicely with the group’s strategy.” Things haven’t always been that easy for Phillips, however. Briefly owned by LVMH, it suffered when the French luxury group pulled out, followed by the then third associate company, Daniella Luxembourg. Founder Simon de Pury launched into contemporary arts to face off competition from the two leading auction houses, Christie's and Sotheby's. He felt that by specialising in design, photography, jewellery and lowercost goods (500 to 20,000 dollars) he could find a new customer base in art collection.
The strategy paid off. It should continue to apply in the new partnership, in which the auctioneer will stay president and continue to supervise all activities linked to the arts. The merchant and collector Charles Saatchi will also remain a valued partner (access to the Saatchi Collection, a private museum inaugurated in October, will remain free of charge).
The Mercury Group is also owner of Moscow’s Tsum shops and the Luxury Barvikha Village, located in one of the city’s suburbs. It sells such brands as Gucci, Prada, Giorgio Armani and Rolex and has showrooms available for prestigious automobile brands like Ferrari, Maserati and Bentley. Now it has a significant stake in the arts world. “The Russians have come up a force to reckon with in the international contemporary arts market,” says Childs. “Right from the beginning we supported this country’s contemporary arts through our London sales. This relationship is certainly set to grow.”
bmir, Business mir #13 - 2009-03  MAIL PRINT 
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Ежедневные новости и аналитика из Швейцарии и Европы, политика, экономика, интервью

Daily news and analytics from Switzerland and Europe, policy, economy, interview