London, King Street
Jussi studied English Literature at Oxford University where he graduated in 1984, before beginning his Christie’s career as a junior specialist in the Old Master and Modern Print Department in 1986. Early in his career Jussi, Finnish by birth, was asked to travel broadly on the continent for a team which enjoyed considerable success. As a result of this he was soon asked to join the Impressionist and Modern Art Department as an Associate Director. After 5 years in the team he was appointed head of the Impressionist Department, a position which he held for a decade between 1995 and 2005. During this ten year period the department grew substantially, began to execute private sales and create powerful themed sales such as the sale of German and Austrian Art which outsold all other Impressionist sales in Europe in 1997. Mr Pylkkänen continues to be a senior valuer for the International Impressionist department.
Jussi’s particular passion is auctioneering and he has presided over major sales for Christie’s and countless global charities. His charity work has seen him take significant fund raising auctions for The Red Cross, Unicef, Nelson Mandela’s HIV Trust, Charities for the Disabled in the Middle East, Naomi House in the UK, ARK and the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) amongst others. He is particularly proud of his association with THT for whom he has been the main auctioneer for over 10 years and raised over £2,000,000. In New York in May 2013, Jussi set a record for a charity auction sale at Christie’s when, alongside a senior team led by Loic Gouzer, he orchestrated a charity sale for Leonardo di Caprio which raised an astonishing $38,000,000 for the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation’s The 11th Hour Charity.
Jussi has conducted Evening sales for over 15 years and has helped break countless world records with a variety of departments. In June 2010 he oversaw the most expensive sale of Impressionist and Modern Art in Europe which broke the elusive £150,000,000 barrier. This was followed in New York in November 2013 with the Post-War & Contemporary sale that realised the highest auction total in art market history and achieved a world auction record price for any work of art sold at auction for Francis Bacon’s Three Studies of Lucian Freud. Between January and July of 2013 Jussi became the first auctioneer in the world to sell works of art for over £1,000,000,000 in a six month period: these sales included the current record for any auction achieved by Christie’s Post-War team in May 2013 at an extra-ordinary $638,000,000.
In February 2005 Jussi was appointed President of Christie’s Europe having served as Deputy Chairman of Christie’s UK since December 2000. His first year in this role saw the launch of several key expansion initiatives which have developed into significant areas of growth for the international art market: these include the opening of our Moscow offices which heralded the hosting of major exhibitions in Russia, as well as our major sales in Dubai which regularly convene great Middle Eastern collectors who have bid for some $300,000,000 of art since 2005. Last year also saw the launch of our Indian initiative: Christie’s EMERI hosted our first auction in Mumbai in December.
In 2011 Mr Pylkkänen was appointed President and Chairman of Christie’s EMERI.