On 16th October, LMH alumnus Jussi Plykkänen (1981 English Language and Literature) welcomed an audience of almost 100 alumni to Christie’s Auction House, where he has been the Global President since 2014.

During a drinks reception in a grand auction room, alumni and guests chatted amongst various objects awaiting auction. A short introductory video highlighted Jussi’s major sales as Chief Auctioneer - including the record-breaking sale of the world’s most expensive painting, Da Vinci’s Sulvator Mundi. Principal Alan Rusbridger asked Jussi about his 30-year career as a 20th century art expert, and he was full of enthusiasm as he tackled the questions and challenges levelled at him and the art industry. 

Jussi and Alan

Jussi gave his audience a snapshot of the art world, emphasising the importance of the ‘story’ behind a piece of art. One of Jussi’s favourite stories involved Van Gogh’s A Pair of Shoes which the artist chose as a motif because he could not afford to buy anything else to paint. Jussi detailed how the painting had gone missing, but a hunch led him to find and eventually auction it in 1999. Jussi also answered questions put to him by Alan about the accessibility of the art world and its relationship to wealth. 

Thanks are extended to Jussi and Christie’s for an extremely informative and enjoyable evening which allowed our alumni to share some of Jussi’s auctioneering experiences, all within the beautiful setting of Christie’s itself.