February 27, 2009

The "Sale of the Century" - The Follow-Up!

Well, the "Sale of the Century" has come and gone and Christie's, Pierre Bergé, and the art and decorative arts markets can breath a collective sigh of relief! The big gamble paid off and the week-long auction extravaganza of the Estate of Yves Saint Laurent was a resounding success. With a final take of €374 Million ($483 Million) including buyer's premium, the results certainly exceeded the high estimate of $375 Million, making this sale not just remarkable in the current economic climate, but the highest grossing sale of its kind in history.

Just to give you a frame of reference, I've selected a cross section of lots and presented them in approximate chronological order, according to period. All prices are in Euro with an exchange rate of $1.28 = €1, and all "Sold For" prices include the hammer price plus the premium.

Lot # 670
Buddha made of wood lacquered in gold and red
Ming Dynasty (16th Century)
45" high
Estimate €30,000-40,000
Sold For €313,000

Lot # 678
Bronze Head of a Rabbit
Qing Dynasty (18th Century)
17 3/4" high
Estimate €8-10 Million
Sold For €15.7 Million
This item was the subject of some controversy as the Chinese
government tried unsuccessfully to have it blocked from the sale.

Lot # 141
Unicorn made of silver and vermeil (gilding)
Circa 1685
12" high
Estimate €50,000-80,000
Sold For €325,000

Lot # 425
Oval Onyx Cameo
Set in gold with colored stones
16th Century
4 3/4"
Estimate €8,000-12,000
Sold For €91,000

Lot # 187
Ostrich Egg in Vermeil Setting
Circa 1717
15" high
Estimate €35,000-50,000
Sold For €169,000

Lot # 573
Tankard in sculpted ivory
Late 16th Century
Southern Germany
7 1/2"
Estimate €30,000-50,000
Sold For €145,000

Lot # 73
Frans HALS (Dutch)
"Portrait of a Man Holding a Book"
17th Century
Oil on Canvas
Estimate €800,000-1,200,000
Sold For €3.5 Million

Lot # 710
Suite of 18 Rococo Chairs
Mid 18th Century
Estimate €300,000-500,000
Sold For €961,000

Lot # 501
Processional Cross in gilded copper and enamel
set with precious stones and emeralds
17th Century
24" high
Estimate €15,000-20,000
Sold For €79,000

Lot # 55
Henri MATISSE (French)
"Les Coucous, tapis bleu et rose"
Oil on canvas
Estimate €12-18 Million
Sold For €35.9 Million

Lot # 276
Eileen GRAY (Irish)
Dragon Armchair
Circa 1917-1919
Estimate €2-3 Million
Sold For €21.9 Million

Lot # 35
Constantin BRANCUSI (Romanian)
"Portrait of Madame LR", 1914-1917
Wood sculpture
Estimate €15-20 Million
Sold For €29 Million

Lot # 37
Marcel DUCHAMP (French)
"Belle Haleine - Eau de Violette"
Estimate €1 - 1.5 Million
Sold For €8.9 Million

Lot # 292
Jean DUNAND (French)
Pair of Lacquered "Monumental" Vases
Estimate €1 - 1.5 Million
Sold For €3 Million

Lot # 341
Jean-Michel FRANK (French)
Rock crystal table lamp
10 1/2" high
Estimate €80,000-120,000
Sold For €193,0000

Of course, this is a highly arbitrary look and I did not include any of the (very few) lots that failed to sell, but you get the picture. If you would like to get the complete results, please visit Christie's website, click on "Auction Results" and then "Collection Yves Saint Laurent et Pierre Bergé" Sale # 1209. You will be directed to a 23 page document with photos and details of every one of the lots offered.

Finally, you may be wondering what will happen to all this money? The proceeds are to be divided between the "Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent Foundation" created in 2002 to preserve the couturier's legacy and a planned foundation to fund AIDS related medical research.

So far, the moniker "Sale of the Century" is not an exaggeration - but the century is only 9 years old! It will be interesting to see how long it takes for the next record to be set!

1 comment:

Dewey Winters said...

Great Post, Thanks for This!
Dewey :)