Culture / Auctions

Yves Saint Laurent’s Art Auction

The private collection amassed by the fashion designer and his partner Pierre Berge is considered one of the finest in the world. Labeled the “sale of the century” by Christie’s, it will include over 700 lots with an estimated total value of €200 million to €300 million ($255 million to $380 million). Berges and Saint Laurent […]

Feb 19, 2009 | By Anakin

The private collection amassed by the fashion designer and his partner Pierre Berge is considered one of the finest in the world.

Labeled the “sale of the century” by Christie’s, it will include over 700 lots with an estimated total value of €200 million to €300 million ($255 million to $380 million).

Berges and Saint Laurent met in 1958 and set themselves the goal of buying the best paintings and sculptures they could lay their hands on.



The decision to sell almost the whole collection was made by Bergé as a way to find closure
. “I wanted this sale,” he said at a press conference.

“This collection could only have two destinies – end up in a museum, which would have been too onerous, or on the auction block. I chose the sale because I felt the collection would not be truly complete until the hammer fell on the last lot.”

I hope that everything we loved so passionately will find a home with other collectors. That is the way with works of art,” Berge says, adding that he was selling “without regret and without nostalgia.”

Pierre Berge has put 733 items up for auction, including works by Gaugin, Picasso, Klimt, Degas and Cezanne. According to François de Ricqles, Christie’s France Vice-President, “No art-lover anywhere in the world can remain unmoved by this auction.”

Still, not everything from the collection will go. Bergé will keep an Andy Warhol portrait of Saint Laurent and a Senufo African bird sculpture, the first object that the two men purchased together.

For the auction, to be held inside the vast hall of Paris’ Grand Palais, Christie’s has printed a five-volume, 1,800-page opus that weighs 22 pounds (10 kilos).

Eight auctioneers will work in shifts during the three-day event, with 100 telephone lines installed and seating available for 900 buyers

The exhibition will be open to the public for free on February 21, 22 and 23. Most of the money raised by the collection will go towards HIV-Aids research.

Source and Photos: Time