Sotheby’s Versace villa sale beats estimates

Artworks belonging to the late Gianni Versace sold at a London auction for more than twice the presale estimate, the second time in a month the public sale of a famed fashion designer’s items had defied the economic slump.

The 545-lot sale of the contents of Villa Fontanelle, Versace’s early 19th-century mansion on the shores of Lake Como, fetched 7.4 million pounds ($10.5 million) last night, against a presale top estimate of 2.8 million pounds.

Like the Saint Laurent sale, the Versace sale was a chance to pick up pieces personally selected by a man of great taste.

Versace had decorated his Italian home in the opulent neo- classical “Empire’’ style typical of the era of French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte.

The auction’s top lot was the larger of two gilt-mounted cherrywood bookcases commissioned by Napoleon’s sister, Pauline Borghese and designed by the French imperial cabinetmaker, Karl Roos, which fetched 601,250 pounds. The smaller one sold for 481,250 pounds.

The auction was the fourth and final Versace sale held by Sotheby’s. In 1999, the company sold the designer’s collection of artworks by Pablo Picasso, followed by the contents of Versace’s Miami mansion and New York town house in 2001 and 2005 respectively.

Proceeds from the auctions, held in New York and London, exceeded 38 million pounds, said Sotheby’s.

Source: Reuters – Photos: Getty Image