Yves Saint Laurent Sale Enlivens The Art World
On a day when the U.S. stock market hit epic lows, the art market in Paris was in high form. The much-anticipated first sales of the Collection of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge by Christie's did not disappoint. The auctions have brought in 206 million euros (approximately $261 million) so far with two more days of sales left to go. World records fell left and right as hundreds of buyers from around the world crowded into the Grand Palais exhibition hall. Records were set for works by Piet Mondrian, sculptor Constantin Brancusi and Marchel Duchamp.
A Matisse painting "Cuckoos on a blue and pink carpet" went for 32 million euros, far above the estimate of 18 million euros and many works sold briskly. The show was not without its misees though. The Picasso work "Musical Instruments on a Table" missed its guide price, a fact that suited Pierre Berge just fine. He had As he told the AFP, he's happy because now he can keep the painting for himself.
The sales represent not just great works of art but the sum of a life spent collecting and studying things of great beauty. Pierre Berge said that he decided to sell the collection after Saint Laurent died because it was something they had created together and selling it was the only possible solution. The expensive returns are a tribute to the fine taste of the collectors and they are also bringing a funds for good causes. Proceeds will be split between medical research and the fight against AIDS and the Berge/Saint Laurent Foundation which will conserve garments, accessories and sketches that celebrate Yves Saint Laurent's design talent.
Tomorrow brings the sale of the Old Masters 19th-century art and Art Deco pieces and Wednesday brings sculptures, archaeological pieces, ceramics and Asian art.