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 designerâ€™s items had defied the economic slump.
The 545-lot sale of the contents of Villa Fontanelle, Versaceâ€™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.
Versace had decorated his Italian home in the opulent neo- classical â€œEmpireâ€™â€™ style typical of the era of French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte.
The auctionâ€™s top lot was the larger of two gilt-mounted cherrywood bookcases commissioned by Napoleonâ€™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 Sothebyâ€™s. In 1999, the company sold the designerâ€™s collection of artworks by Pablo Picasso, followed by the contents of Versaceâ€™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 Sothebyâ€™s.