In anticipation of the BRIC sale in London, the Guardian‘s Stuart Jeffiries goes a little overboard hyping Simon de Pury:
If a film is ever made of Swiss auctioneer Baron Simon de Pury’s life (and there really should be), then Jeremy Irons and Bill Nighy must be made to fight over the role. Irons could reprise his mittel-European accent from Die Hard with a Vengeance, while Nighy – soigné, snake-hipped and with the air of a potentially very naughty boy – can turn the knees of women of a certain age to jelly.
These thoughts occur to me as the beaming baron sweeps across the floor of his auction house in a tailored blue suit with matching silk tie. “Yes, it is true I am a baron, but nobody ever calls me that, apart from the BBC,” he says, shaking my hand, his incessant rictus smile hardening. Behind him are nine urinals, sitting in a row. His fate, it transpires, is bound up with theirs.
The baron biopic would start in Basel 58 years ago, with the birth of a boy to a mother who is Switzerland’s leading expert in ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging, and a father who is a pharmaceutical magnate. That boy’s passion for art whisks him to Tokyo, London, Monte Carlo and New York, as he becomes not just an art expert but the greatest auctioneer of his age: the so-called Man with the Golden Gavel.