Despite the economy’s downward spiral the fashion world has been abuzz about the record breaking Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge sale. The private auction which took place at the Grand Palais in Paris ended Wednesday February 25th, bringing in a grand total of $484.6 million.
The auction has broken the most world records for individual works including $46.4 million for Matisse’s “Les Coucous, tapis bleu et rose,” and records across categories including decorative arts. Further of note were the rat and rabbit bronze fountainheads, which sold to anonymous telephone bidders for $20 million each. The Qing dynasty heads were stolen during the Opium Wars and have therefore stirred up their fair share of controversy.
Christie’s chief executive officer Edward Dolman told WWD that “if your business is auctions and your life is spent in the art business, this must surely be the greatest moment in our careers,” adding that “tonight we saw Paris reclaim its position at the center of the world’s art market. The eye of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé throughout made the provenance of this particular collection irresistible to the world.”
As for Berge when he saw the 1,800-page catalogue, he notes that he asked himself –“Who are the mad people who did that? Where did they find the time to do that? You know we worked a lot, Yves Saint Laurent and I. The other day in the exhibition, a woman stopped me and asked me, ‘Where did you put it all?’ and I said, ‘I don’t know.’”
Images courtesy of the Fashion Spot forums.