WORLD AUCTION RECORD: LOS VALORES
25 February 2009
Carine Decroi +33 1 40 76 85 88 firstname.lastname@example.org
Alex Kindermann +44 (0)7887 822486 email@example.com
Matthew Paton +44 (0)207 389 2965 firstname.lastname@example.org
THE COLLECTION OF
YVES SAINT LAURENT AND PIERRE BERGÉ REALISES
€373.9 MILLION /£332.8 MILLION / $483.8 MILLION
WORLD RECORD FOR THE MOST VALUABLE PRIVATE
COLLECTION SOLD AT AUCTION
HIGHEST TOTAL FOR ANY AUCTION IN EUROPE
WORLD RECORD FOR THE MOST VALUABLE PRIVATE IMPRESSIONIST
AND MODERN ART COLLECTION SOLD AT AUCTION
WORLD AUCTION RECORD FOR A SILVER SALE
WORLD RECORD FOR A COLLECTION OF
20th CENTURY DECORATIVE ARTS
WORLD RECORD FOR ANY WORK OF 20th CENTURY DECORATIVE ART
Top lot, Eileen Gray’s ‘Dragons’ armchair, circa 1917-1919, sells for
€21.9 million /£19.4 million / $28.3 million
TOP LOT OF THE ENTIRE COLLECTION
Henri Matisse’s, Les Coucous, tapis bleu et rose, 1911, sells for
€35.9 million /£31.9 million / $46.4 million
MULTIPLE WORLD RECORDS FOR ARTISTS AT AUCTION
16 LOTS SELL FOR OVER €5 MILLION
61 LOTS SELL FOR OVER €1 MILLION
Proceeds to benefit Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent Foundation and a new
foundation that will be set up for scientific research and the fight against AIDS
23, 24, 25 February 2008
Grand Palais, Paris
Paris – The three-day sale of the magnificent Collection of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre
Bergé at the Grand Palais, offered by Christie’s in association with Pierre Bergé &
Associates auctioneers, realised in total €373,935,500 / £332,802,595 / $483,835,144. A
remarkable 95.5% of lots sold by lot, and 93% sold by value. This historic sale set a world
record for the most valuable private collection sold at auction, was the highest grossing sale
in Europe on record, and set multiple world records for Impressionist and Modern Art, 20th
Century Decorative Arts, Silver, Sculpture and Works of Art. One of the most exceptional
and significant collections of art in private hands, it generated unprecedented interest from
bidders throughout the world and the pre-sale estimates for both the sale as a whole and the
individual works, were significantly exceeded.
Highlights of these exceptional and rare works of art, each with impeccable provenance,
captured the attention of international collectors as they were exhibited by Christie’s, in
association with Pierre Bergé and Associates, in New York, London, Brussels and Paris in
the last four months. The spectacular public exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris, a oncein-
a-lifetime opportunity to see this unique curated collection of art and to experience the
evocative atmosphere of Yves Saint Laurent’s apartment at rue de Babylone, was viewed by
over 30,000 visitors over 3 days (21-23 February), and over 1500 people gathered for each of
the sales, held in a specially built saleroom, the largest in Christie’s history.
The top lot of the sale was Les coucous, tapis bleu et rose, 1911 by Henri Matisse, which sold for
€35.9 million / £31.9 million / $46.4 million. 16 works of art sold for over €5 million and 61
works of art sold for over €1 million. Numerous world auction records were set in each sale,
and in almost every part of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé’s Collection, a tribute to
their discerning eye for provenance and museum quality.
The proceeds of the sale will go to the Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent Foundation,
created to prolong the history of the House of Yves Saint Laurent, and to a new foundation
that will be set up for scientific research and the fight against AIDS.
Pierre Bergé said: “The sale of the collection that I had built in partnership with Yves Saint Laurent
draws to a close and has been a triumph. My expectations have been fully realized. I thank Christie’s for
the organization of both the preview exhibitions and the sale itself in the setting of the Grand Palais. I offer
my gratitude to the public who came in huge numbers and were prepared to queue patiently for many hours.
The results of the sale exceed our highest expectations and confirm the potential of the Paris marketplace to
rise to such an occasion. The results also demonstrate that even in a difficult economic climate, works of art
of great quality preserve their power and their value.”
François de Ricqlès, Vice President, Christie’s France added: “Art has risen above the
current world crisis. A tribute to the extraordinary eye of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé and an
outstanding success for Christie’s. Like a ship mocking a storm, the Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé
sale has moved calmly and steadily through three triumphant days of bidding in the Grand Palais in Paris.
In every domain – pictures, works of art, silver or Art Deco – beauty, quality and provenance ensured
success. Buyers came from all corners of the globe after the popular tribute of thousands and thousands of
visitors during the weekend prior the sale. The unqualified success of the sale consecrates the taste and the
passion for art of two great collectors, Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé.”
Ed Dolman, Chief Executive Officer, Christie’s commented: “This has been an historic sale
of an outstanding collection. The results have proved beyond doubt that there is real liquidity in the art
market and that rare and exceptional works, with impeccable provenance continue to generate huge interest
and demand from collectors throughout the world. They also demonstrate that the market is not reliant on a
single group of buyers or particular region or country in the world. Our recent sales, including most notably
the very strong sale of Impressionist and Modern Art in London, illustrate that there is real strength and
depth to the market as a whole. It is on this firm footing that we look forward to strong prices in our major
sales in New York in May and June in London."
Impressionist and Modern Art
On 23 February, at the inuagural session of the sale, the most significant collection of
Impressionist and Modern Art in private hands sold for a total of €206 million / £183 million /
$266 million, a world record for a private collection at auction and the highest total achieved
for any Impressionist and Modern Art sale in Europe. The top lot of the evening was Les
coucous, tapis bleu et rose, 1911 by Henri Matisse, which sold for €35.9 million / £31.9 million /
$46.4 million, the highest price ever achieved for a work by the artist at auction, and 8 works
of art sold for over €5 million. 25 works of art sold for over €1 million (24 lots for over £1
million / 25 lots over $1 million). 7 world records were set for artists at auction, including
Matisse, Brancusi, Mondrian, de Chirico, Duchamp, Klee and Ensor.
Thomas Seydoux, International Head of Impressionist and Modern Art said: “This
record sale, which achieved the highest total for any Impressionist and Modern Art sale in Europe, and was
the most valuable private collection ever sold at auction in the world, was a tribute to two great men: Pierre
Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent. Collectors, gathered in the largest saleroom that Christie’s has ever seated,
responded to the opportunity of a lifetime to buy into a Collection carefully assembled over almost five decades.
There was significant bidding on the telephone from a deep pool of international buyers and many rare and
exceptional works, each with impeccable provenance and condition, set world record prices for artists at
auction. This historical sale demonstrated the timeless appeal of Impressionist and Modern art, this longestablished
and highly valued category.”
Other major highlights of the sale included:
• Madame L.R. (Portrait de Mme L.R.), a magnificent example of Constantin Brancusi’s
earliest and enigmatic sculptures in wood sold for €29.1 million / £25.9 million /
$37.7 million (estimate: €15,000,000 – 20,000,000), a world record for the artist at
• Three abstract paintings by Piet Mondrian, which each belong to key stages in the
artist’s work, and express degrees of tension between line, form and colour were all
sold above their high estimates. Composition avec bleu, rouge, jaune et noir, 1922 sold for
€21.5 million / £19.1 million / $27.9 million (estimate: €7,000,000-10,000,000), a
world record for the artist at auction; Composition avec grille 2, 1918 sold for €14.4
million / £12.8 million / $18.6 million (estimate: €7,000,000-10,000,000), and
Composition I, 1920, sold for €7.0 million / £6.2 million / $9.0 million (estimate:
• Fernand Léger’s great mechanical paintings of 1918 and 1919, painted during one
of his most brilliant periods drew significant attention: Composition, dans l’usine, 1918
sold for € 5.5 million / £4.9 million / $7.1 million (estimate: €6,000,000 – 8,000,000).
La tasse de thé, 1921, sold for € 11.4 million / £10.2 million / $14.8 million (estimate:
€10,000,000 – 15,000,000).
• The ready-made masterpiece “La Belle Haleine – Eau de Voilette” by Marcel
Duchamp, with the assistance by Man Ray in 1921, witnessed fierce bidding in the
room and realized € 8.9 million / £7.9 million / $11.5 million, nearly 9 times its
estimate of €1,000,000 – 1,500,000, a world auction record for the artist.
• James Ensor’s monumental Le désespoir de Pierrot, the most important work of art by
the artist to be presented at auction in the last 25 years, sold for € 4.9 million / £4.4
million / $6.4 million (estimate: €2,000,000 – 3,000,000), a world record for the artist
• Three works of art were acquired by two of the most important French museums in
Paris: Les Lilas by Edouard Vuillard and Au Conservatoire by James Ensor was
bought by the Museé d’Orsay, and Il Ritornante by Giorgio de Chirico was bought
by the Centre Georges Pompidou.
Old Master and 19th Century Paintings and Drawings
The sale of Old Master and 19th Century Paintings and Drawings on 24 February totalled
€22.2 million / £19.7 million / $28.7 million. 75% of lots sold by lot, and 90% sold by
value. Drawings from the 19th century, predominantly portraits by Jacques-Louis David,
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones generated significant
interest and Portrait d’Alfred et Elisabeth Dedreux by Theodore Gericault, the figurehead of
French Romantic painting, was the top lot of the sale and realised €9.0 million / £8.0
million / $11.6 million (estimate: €4,000,000 – 6,000,000), a world record for the artist at
auction. 5 works of art sold for over €1 million (4 lots for over £1 million / 6 lots over $1
million). 6 new world auction records for artists were set.
Cécile Bernard, Ketty Gottardo and Etienne Hellman, specialists in charge of the
sale said: “The works of art offered, which ranged over four centuries, from the early 16th Century to the
early 20th Century, mirrored this unique collection's breadth and exceptional diversity. Each of the twentyfour
works that were sold had exceptional provenance and an impressive art historical pedigree; thus
attracting very active bidding from top international collectors and connoisseurs”.
Major highlights of the sale included:
• Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’ elegant Portrait de la comtesse de la Rue, 1890, sold
for €2.0 million / £1.8 million / $2.6 million (estimate: €2,000,000,000 –
3,000,000,000), a world record for the artist at auction
• Jacques-Louis David’s Portrait d’homme de profil, which has long been thought to be
a self-portrait sold for €577,000 / £513,530 / $746,580 (estimate: €400,000 –
• Théodore Gericault’s Portrait d’Alfred et Elisabeth Dedreux sold for €9.0 million /
£8.0 million / $11.6 million (estimate: €4,000,000 – 6,000,000), a world record for
the artist, and a world record for any ‘non-impressionist’ painting from the 19th
Century. International collectors and connoisseurs where quick to recognise the
significance of this painting, its relevance within Géricault’s oeuvre, its status as an
icon of early romantic portraiture, and its particularly unforgettable atmosphere.
• Arnold Böcklin’s Odysseus and Polypheme, 1986, sold for €577,000 / £513,530 /
$746,580 (estimate: €400,000 – 600,000), a world record for a work on paper by the
artist at auction.
Silver, Miniatures and Objets de Vertu
The afternoon sale of Silver, Miniatures and Objets Vertu on 24 February totaled €19.8
million / £17.6 million / $25.7 million and set a new world auction record for a silver sale.
An impressive 100% of the works sold to an audience of over 1,000 people. The star lot of
the session, which saw over 111 breath-taking lots of silver, silver-gilt and gold come under
the hammer, was the Osterode cup, a silver-gilt quadruple cup, 1649, which sold for
€853,000 / £759,000 / $1.1 million (estimate: €100,000 – 150,000). The collection of
Hanover cups alone, one of the most exciting collections of early German silver to appear
on the market for years, totalled €6.1 million / £5.4 million / $7.89 million. Collectors also
bid fiercely for drinking cups in the form of lions, bears, horses, deer, a unicorn, bull, swan,
owl and even an elephant with soldiers in the castle turret on its back.
Anthony Phillips, International Director, Silver said: “The sale of Yves Saint Laurent and
Pierre Bergé’s silver collection was a record sale. Not only was it the most valuable silver sale ever in the
world, but numerous world records were established. A truly international group of collectors responded
positively to the museum-quality pieces of rare silver, silver-gilt and gold and in particular to the collection of
Major highlights of the sale included:
• The top lot of the huge standing cups – formerly in a German royal collection was
the Osterode cup which sold for €853,000 / £759,170 / $1,103,697 (estimate:
€100,000 - 150,000).
• A 16th century silver hunting bear sold for €313,000/ £278,570 / $404,990 (estimate:
€80,000 - 120,000).
• An important Louis XIV rose-cut diamond and enamelled gold-mounted
presentation miniature, portrait by Jean I Petitot (1607-1691), circa 1680 which
fetched €481,000 / £428,090 / $622,366 (estimate: €200,000 - 300,000). This work
was acquired by the Louvre.
• The remarkable pair of German gold and enamel tazze, probably Augsburg, circa
1730 which sold for €481,000 / £428,090 / $622,366 (estimate: €200,000-300,000).
20th Century Decorative Arts
The 24 February evening sale of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge’s meticulously selected
group of Art Deco treasures, a sophisticated celebration of one of the most brilliant chapters
in Parisian cultural life, realised a total of €59.1 million / £52.6 million / $76.5 million, a
world record for a collection of 20th century decorative arts. 95% of lots sold by lot, and
98% sold by value. The star lot of the evening was Eileen Gray’s ‘Dragons’ armchair, circa
1917-1919, which achieved €21.9 million / £19.4 million / $28.3 million, a world record for
a work of 20th century decorative art at auction, and a world record for the artist at auction.
10 works of art sold for over €1 million (10 over £1 million and 10 over $1 million). The
auction saw a total of 12 artist records established.
Philippe Garner, International Head and Sonja Ganne, European Director, 20th Century
Decorative Art & Design said: “Tonight’s sale was a homage to the great personalities, designers,
collectors and patrons who so marked their era in Paris in the 1920s and 1930s and, of course, to the
pioneering vision of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé as collectors.”
Leading highlights of the sale included:
• Eileen Gray’s ‘Dragons’ armchair, circa 1917-1919, originally in the collection of
Suzanne Talbot, sold for €21.9 million / £19.4 million / $28.3 million, a world
record for any work of 20th century decorative art at auction, and a world record for
the artist at auction (estimate: €2,000,000-3,000,000). Gray’s unique Enfilade, circa
1915-1917, realised €3.9 million / £3.5 million / $5.1 million (estimate: €3,000,000-
• The Gustave Miklos pair of palm wood and lacquered bronze banquettes, 1928-1929,
commissioned by Jacques Doucet, sold for €1.7 million / £1.5 million / $2.2 million
(estimate: €2,000,000-3,000,000), a world auction record for the artist.
• Monumental in size and striking in design, the Jean Dunand pair of lacquered and gilt
metal vases, 1925, stirred competitive bidding and sold for €3 million / £2.7 million /
$3.9 million (estimate: €1,000,000-1,500,000), a world record for the artist at auction.
• Works by Claude Lalanne sold for prices that far exceeded their estimates and a
spectacular set of fifteen bronze and galvanised copper mirrors, modelled as
branches, 1974-1985, sold for €1.8 million / £1.6 million / $2.4 million (estimate:
€700,000-1,000,000), a world record for the artist at auction. Specially commissioned
by Yves Saint Laurent, in 1974, they took 11 years to complete.
• The sculptural YSL bar, François-Xavier Lalanne’s first commission from Yves
Saint Laurent, and a centrepiece of the library in Yves Saint Laurent’s apartment in
rue de Babylone sold for €2.7 million / £2.4 million / $3.5 million (estimate:
€700,000-1,000,000), a world record for the artist at auction.
• A pair of floor lamps, 1930 by Eckart Muthesius commissioned by the Maharaja of
Indore for his Modernist palace sold for €2.5 million / £2.2 million / $3.2 million
(estimate: €400,000-600,000), far exceeding the world record for the artist at auction.
Sculpture and Works of Art
The afternoon session of the Sculpture and Works of Art sale on 25 February realised a total
of €24.2 million / £21.5 million / $31.3 million. 95% of lots sold by lot, and 98% sold by
value. The top lot was a 16th century bronze double head of Janus, unusual in both its
iconography and its scale, which attracted committed bidding from a wide range of private
and trade buyers and sold for €2.0 million / £1.8 million / $2.6 million (estimate: €100,000 –
200,000), a record for a 16th century French bronze. 5 works of art sold for over €1 million
(4 lots for over £1 million / 6 lots over $1 million).
Donald Johnston, Director and Head of European Sculpture, said: “The depth and breadth
of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé’s collection of sculpture was an inspiration. Seen in its entirety and
splendour at the public exhibition at the Grand Palais, it captured the interest of a large number of new
private buyers from all over the world. This culminated in one of the longest-lasting sculpture sales ever to be
held. Over six hours, 278 lots works dating from the 13th to the 19th Century were sold, bringing the sale
total to €24.2 million, triple its low estimate.”
Major highlights of the sale included:
• A group of parcel-gilt white painted carved wood allegorical busts representing the
four continents, French, from the 18th century sold for €841,000 / £748,000 / $1
million (estimate: €200,000 – 300,000).
• An exquisite silver gilt and ruby mounted rock crystal vase, Milanese, from the late
16th or early 17th century, which was formerly in the French royal collection, sold for
€529,000 / £470,810 / $684,473 (estimate: €100,000 – 150,000).
• A bronze figure of Hermaphrodite, attributed to Gianfrancesco Susini sold for
€625,000 / £556,250 / $808,688 (estimate: €400,000 – 600,000), a world record for a
bronze by the artist.
• A 17th century German turned ivory cup and cover sold for €457,000 / £406,730 /
$591,312 (estimate: €100,000 – 150,000), a world record for a German turned ivory.
• A Venetian parcel-gilt polychrome circular enamel ewer basin, circa 1500 sold for
€421,000 / £374,690 / $544,732 (estimate: €180,000 – 220,000), a world record for
any Venetian enamel.
Asian Art, Ceramics, Furniture, Islamic Art and Antiquities
The evening session of the Sculpture and Works of Art sale on 25 February, which included
a wide range of Asian Art, Ceramics, Furniture, Islamic Art and Antiquities and conveyed
Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé’s taste for exceptional decorative works, realised a total
of €42.8 million / £38.1 million / $55.4 million. The top lots were exceptionally rare bronze
heads of a rat and a rabbit made for the Zodiac Fountain of the Emperor Qianlong’s
Summer Palace in China which each sold for €15.8 million / £14.0 million / $20.3 million.
3 works of art sold for over €1 million (3 over £1 million and 5 over $1 million). Other
major highlights of the sale included:
• An important gilt and red lacquered wood figure of Buddha, China, Ming dynasty,
16th century, sold for €313,000 / £278,570 / $404,997 (estimate: €30,000 – 40,000).
• An impressive Roman marble minotaur, circa 1st-2nd century A.D., the focus of the
apsidal terrace outside Yves Saint Laurent’s apartment at rue Babylone, sold for
€913,000 / £812,570 / $1.6 million (estimate: €300,000 – 500,000).
• An exquisite over life-sized and imposing male marble torso, circa 1st-2nd century
A.D., which stood in the entrance hall of rue Babylone, sold for €1.2 million / £1.1
million / $1.6 million (estimate: €300,000 – 500,000).
• A Louis XIV exotic tapestry, Gobelins, after a painting by Albert Eckhout and Frans
Post, possibly woven in 1720 by Jean Lefebvre Fils sold for €553,000 / £492,170 /
$715,527 (estimate: €100,000 – 150,000).
• A set of eighteen Italian chairs from the Rococo period from the Palazzo Carrega-
Cataldi in Genoa, which surrounded a monumental Art Deco dining table in marble
and silvered bronze in rue Babylone, sold for €961,000 / £855,290 / $1.2 million
(estimate: €300,000 – 500,000).
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