Thursday, May 19, 2011

One dollar frog & the sale of the century

I read in the New York Times that the movie “L’Amour Fou” (Crazy Love) played at the Tribeca Film Festival. It’s a documentary about the relationship between Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge’, his life and business partner who helped build their amazing brand worldwide. After Yves death in 2008, Pierre Berge’ hired Christie’s in 2009 to hold the now famous auction to benefit his charitable foundation. This was a risky move because of the worldwide recession, but it ended up becoming the world record for a private auction.

As with most haute couture enterprises, the chief money makers are perfume and licensed products. The YSL brand made huge amounts of money in the 1970’s and 80’s. Yves and Pierre purchased the very finest art and decorative accessories available for their collection. Sadly, Yves was manic-depressive and driven to dark moods with alcoholism and drugs. Even with a great haute couture fashion collection Yves would be very unhappy and moody.

The iconic auction was held in February, 2009, in Paris’ Grand Palais. Over 700 auction lots fetched $484,000,000!!! Over 16 lots brought in an average of $6,500,000 each and 61 lots over $1,300,000 each! Now that’s a lot of “Opium” perfume and YSL ties at Macy’s and Bloomindales!

I know a bit about collecting as I often fancy the odd “petit tresor” during my travels. The frog pictured above is in my permanent collection. Provenance…Ubud, Bali. Cost…$1.00. Value? Well, I know that it should be worth at least $10.00 at auction! It was not in the Berge’ auction.

Over 30,000 attended the auction preview in Paris.

Art collectors around the world were caught up in the bidding frenzy!

The Saint Laurent-Berge’ Rue Babylone apartment in the 7th arrondissement.

Yves Saint Laurent and a model in his apartment. The Leger painting sold for $4,559,634. Note the Burmese manuscript chest on the right.

The Giorgio de Chirico painting in the upper left brought over $14 million. The Leger in the upper middle sold for over $7 million. The two metal and enamel 1925 Jean Dunand vases sold for $3.9 million.

Yves’ favorite painting, the Henri Matisse “Les coucous tapis bleu et rose”, sold for $46,286,022, the highest priced lot in the auction!

I was amazed that a chair, yes a chair, sold for over $28.3 million! The chair was Eileen Gray’s circa 1917-1918 “Dragons”.

Hold on to your Brancusi’s! This Constantin Brancusi sold for $37,623,104!

A young Yves Saint Laurent with his favorite muse, Catherine Deneuve.

Yves and his assistants prepare for a collection.

Marla and I visited the YSL retrospective at the De Young Museum in San Francisco. My favorite was his 1967 African collection! His creative fashions, especially in his early years, were very inspiring.

Christies hasn’t called me about my frog yet. I will keep it for a while. Who knows what tomorrow may bring?

***Click for a YouTube video of the auction…

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