Yusi Pulkkanen

Picture of Yusi Pulkkanen

Citizenship: United Kingdom

heady joy of art

You came to the "Christie" for more than two decades ago, and since then did not leave the auction house. Was it a deliberate choice from the outset or, as often happens, there were circumstances?

-In 1980s the auction house "Christie`s" occupied a special place in European culture. At that time I was a student at Oxford, he studied English literature. For the first time actually came up for auction in 1985, when the "Christie" put up for sale Montigny work "Adoration of Mary." The canvas was sold for 8.1 million pounds - at the time it was the highest price for a work of art, acquired at auction. I even wrote an article in the newspaper about the sale of this - so intrigued me the relationship of art and money. I was looking for a way of life: as a boy on my grandfather had a strong influence. He was a writer and theater critic, president of one of the leading Finnish theaters. And while I was in England, I spent all the holidays in Finland. It was possible to go on tour with such famous people like Marcel Marceau.

You`ve started out as an art dealer?

, I always wanted to make my future career has been associated with art, so after graduating from university and course on "Christie" decided to become an art dealer. I was delighted by his work at the leading dealer in Bondstrit, we traveled to exhibitions in America, things were fine. So when in 1986 I received an unexpected invitation for an interview by the auction house "Christie`s", then refused - I do not want to change anything. And then we met up with her father at dinner, I mentioned that I refused to work on the "Christie," and he ordered "immediately call him and say that I agree. At the very least, that this work will give you this opportunity for two years to watch the full panorama artmarketa globally. And then you can pursue a career as a dealer. " So in 1986 I found myself in the "Christie"; and two years later I was appointed Deputy Director of the "Christie`s Great Britain", then moved to the department of Impressionist and Modern Art, which later led - and it decided my fate.

Maybe you were one of the youngest professionals to such a high position in the history of the auction house! We do not regret that did not return to the career of a dealer?

, Has changed not only my status "Christie`s" - the overall picture on the art market in the last 20 years has changed dramatically, and the opportunity to be in the midst of this situation for me is very exciting and thrilling. In the 1980s revolution "Christie" was 4.7 billion pounds, and over the past ten years, he has already reached 18 billion. Selling on "Christie" "Sunflowers" Van Gogh in 1987 for $ 39.9 million was a landmark event: the Old Masters art market has become a historical phenomenon and the driving force of the new financial market became modernism. I think the 1980s golden age of art market, and for me personally, it was the beginning of an adventure that continues to this day.

In one of the interviews you mentioned the "new Medici" - collectors of emerging market economies - Russia, China, India and the Middle East. When the "Christie" has started to work in Russia?

-In 2005, I was appointed president of the "Christie`s Russian." And he was amazed at how quickly Russian became one of the most active buyers in London, New York City, Hong Kong, Geneva. Russian influence our artmarket in various fields - buying furniture, jewelry, works of old masters, impressionist, contemporary art and, of course, Russian art. Over the past few years, our sales of Russian customers increased by three times.

Your opinion about the Russian collectors?

They are distinguished, passion, mobility, confidence and a deep knowledge of the subject. I think this is due to the fact that for many Russian art has always been part of life in your culture has traditionally played a huge role literature, music, ballet, fine arts ...

You - the author of the idea of ??opening a representative office and auction halls "Christie" in the Middle East ...

When we, in 2005, opened in Dubai, one had not been selling Middle Eastern contemporary art at auctions and, of course, could not predict what would happen. I was interested to do it and for 5 years, our sales in Dubai reached $ 170 million. Today, Russian and Middle Eastern clients are competing with our traditional customers - the Americans and Europeans. There is a new generation of collectors, the market has changed, it is changed every 10 years.

As president of the "Christie`s Europe" and the head of European Business Development, you have done much for the fact that to date, the auction house has 54 offices in 31 countries and 10 trading platforms around the world. However, this is not limited to your activity. For the past 13 years you spend a major evening auctions "Christies" ...

Yes, I earn a living as an auctioneer. I think I have a natural instinct for the auctioneer. Although it is not decided on at once, and having served in the "Christie" for almost a decade. When you sell the big names - like Monet, Picasso, Klimt, - you look into the hall, where about 600 people and immediately see those who want to enjoy this work: their faces are lit, posture changes, they look at you with that special look, served forward - eloquent body language is phenomenal! Maybe in five years of work by the auctioneer appeared intuitive sense of who will buy this or that work. It is no secret that an experienced auctioneer can increase the sales figure by 1520%.

Standing in the pulpit, in the foreground of the auction action and looking at the audience in the hall, how many of them you know personally or have seen at previous sales?

-90% Of the hall! (Laughs.) It`s like a huge family! What is very important - that moment of personal acquaintance, when you know the person and his collection, as you can tell from its rostrum, "And you`re sure no longer want to fight for this lot?" And you say so, because it is not hearsay know how much I would like this collector to fill his collection of beautiful Matisse or Leger, and you`re not just talking about this for the past 1520 years.

What was your most successful auction?

-It Is always my last auction! (Laughs.) I remember my very first auction: sold a collection of contemporary Indian art. Experienced colleagues advised me to before: relax, come in advance to the gym, talk to kemnibud of buyers. In the hall, in the first row, I saw a man who terribly nervous. Posing and noticed he was holding the directory in which it was noted a lot of work, I remarked: "It looks like you have today will be a hot day!" "Yes, - he said, - but I`ve never been on the" Christie "and not buy Working with large auctions. So incredibly nervous! "To which I replied:" Let me tell you that I was the first time in my life I will lead the auction, and if it`s any consolation, I confess that the more nervous you! And what are you going to fight for as many lots, just great. Even if everything goes wrong I have, I can count on you! "And, indeed, it really helped me on my first auction I sold the man in the first row 15 lots!

From talent auctioneer it depends not only on the success of auktsionnogodoma, but hopes and expectations of sellers, putting their property up for sale. What, in your opinion, the main qualities of a successful auctioneer?

-For The auctioneer three things are important: the pace, self-control, training. Too fast pace - and the audience feels uncomfortable, too slow - and you lost it. I remember, when I took the training, held the first auction for the sale of small posters. Suddenly, from the back of rose dealer, he came up to me and said, "Sorry, you are not able to carry out the auction quickly? I have to catch the train! "

Preparations for the auction - a key point. I usually start to prepare for 5 weeks prior to the auction as soon go out of print catalogs. Knowledge and awareness - is the power of the auctioneer, but most importantly all the same - self-control. No matter how the sale, the auctioneer must keep a cool head. My ability to keep his composure put to the test in 1996, when because of failure to carry out electric cable had 40millionny auction in almost total darkness.

It can only be compared with another well-known situation, which occurred at an auction of Oriental carpets, when two buyers in the first row started a fight for the lots and, despite the best efforts of protection, continued to brawl for most of the auction. Do you ever been on the other side of the barricades - as a buyer? You yourself collect art or just sell?

-We Have a family collection - my parents collected works of Scandinavian artists. I keep a collection acquires Scandinavian and European glass works by contemporary Scandinavian artists. Buy works of authors, c who was friends, or those whose works make me a response. I guess I`m a very selfish collector: my collecting activities based solely on personal preferences!

What keeps you in the "Christie`s" almost a quarter of a century?

, I enjoy communicating with collectors from around the world, soaking up their knowledge, knowing the tastes and collecting experience. I have fun, orchestrating the scene in the auction hall. It`s like a parachute: everyone knows that this is something extraordinary, but to say why, can only experienced it personally. Here is the moment of the free flight, I would compare with the state of the auctioneer in the hall! And, of course, intoxicating joy every day to feel touch, handle masterpieces!