Friday, February 27, 2009

Collection of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé Realises $483.8 Million at Christie's

PARIS - The three-day sale of the magnificent Collection of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé at the Grand Palais, offered by Christie’s in association with Pierre Bergé & Associates auctioneers, realised in total €373,935,500 / £332,802,595 / $483,835,144. A remarkable 95.5% of lots sold by lot, and 93% sold by value. This historic sale set a world record for the most valuable private collection sold at auction, was the highest grossing sale in Europe on record, and set multiple world records for Impressionist and Modern Art, 20th Century Decorative Arts, Silver, Sculpture and Works of Art. One of the most exceptional and significant collections of art in private hands, it generated unprecedented interest from bidders throughout the world and pre-sale estimates for both the sale as a whole and the individual works, were significantly exceeded.

Other major highlights of the sale included:

Madame L.R. (Portrait de Mme L.R.), a magnificent example of Constantin Brancusi’s earliest and enigmatic sculptures in wood sold for €29.1 million / £25.9 million / $37.7 million (estimate: €15,000,000 – 20,000,000), a world record for the artist at auction.
Three abstract paintings by Piet Mondrian, which each belong to key stages in the artist’s work, and express degrees of tension between line, form and colour were all sold above their high estimates. Composition avec bleu, rouge, jaune et noir, 1922 sold for €21.5 million / £19.1 million / $27.9 million (estimate: €7,000,000-10,000,000), a world record for the artist at auction; Composition avec grille 2, 1918 sold for €14.4 million / £12.8 million / $18.6 million (estimate: €7,000,000-10,000,000), and Composition I, 1920, sold for €7.0 million / £6.2 million / $9.0 million (estimate: €5,000,000-7,000,000).
Fernand Léger’s great mechanical paintings of 1918 and 1919, painted during one of his most brilliant periods drew significant attention: Composition, dans l’usine, 1918 sold for € 5.5 million / £4.9 million / $7.1 million (estimate: €6,000,000 – 8,000,000). La tasse de thé, 1921, sold for € 11.4 million / £10.2 million / $14.8 million (estimate: €10,000,000 – 15,000,000).
The ready-made masterpiece “La Belle Haleine – Eau de Voilette” by Marcel Duchamp, with the assistance by Man Ray in 1921, witnessed fierce bidding in the room and realized € 8.9 million / £7.9 million / $11.5 million, nearly 9 times its estimate of €1,000,000 – 1,500,000, a world auction record for the artist.

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