Christie's | Fine Art Auction House

Collection Yves Saint Laurent et Pierre Bergé

Sales: 25 February

The final day of the sale arrived. A day of auctions that started at 1:00pm and finished late into the night followed by a press conference attended by over 150 journalists. A day that was astonishing on all accounts: a world auction record for the most valuable private collection ever sold; the highest sale total for any auction in Europe; a world record for the most valuable private Impressionist and Modern art collection sold at auction, a world record silver sale, a world record 20th century decorative arts sale, and numerous new artist records were broken during the three days of auctions. The proceeds of the sale will benefit the Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent Foundation and a new foundation that will be set up for scientific research and the fight against AIDS.

In the after sale press conference Pierre Bergé and François de Ricqlès, declared:

Pierre Bergé: “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: “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.”

The members of Christie’s photographer team, Patrick Brunet, Xavier Defaix, Pauline Guyon, Rhea Karon, Alic Vaisse, Nina Stoianova and Marina Gaddoneix, led by Neil Bicknell, supplied the fantastic selection of images you have viewed on the blog.

Posted At: 12:30PM, 26 February 2009

Sales: 24 February

An auction marathon of 10 hours of selling the most extraordinary collection, assembled by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé, was witnessed by over 2,000 clients in the room and by several hundreds telephone bidders, all bidding fiercely throughout the day.

The day started with the Old Master and Nineteenth Century Paintings and Drawings section of the Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé collection, setting six new world auction records in 60 minutes. 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 twenty-four works that were offered had exceptional provenance and an impressive art historical pedigree; thus attracting very active bidding from top international collectors and connoisseurs. Top lot of the first sale sessions was Theodore Gericault’s Portrait d’Alfred et Elisabeth Dedreux, selling for €9,025,000 and setting an new world auction record for the artist.

Sixty minutes later Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé’s silver collection came up for sale and three and a half hours later turned into the most expensive silver sale ever to be staged in the word. The sale totalled €19,882,375 and was 100% sold. A truly international group of collectors responded positively to these 111 museum-quality pieces and numerous world auction records were established. There was strong bidding in particular for the collection of Hanover cups, which alone totalled €6,134,000. The last lot of the sale, The Osterode cup, made in 1649 became the most expensive lot of the session, selling for €853,000 to Galerie J. Kugel, the famous dealer who the two collectors bought from throughout their 50 years of collecting.

The very much anticipated Art Deco section of the Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé collection was the last of the three auction sessions of the day and set a record for any art deco sale ever organized in the world, finishing just before midnight with a sale total of €59.1 million. Some of the objects sold for 10 times their pre-sale estimates but the star of the night was the Eileen Gray Dragons Chair, selling for €21.9 million, setting one of the 12 new world auction records of the evening.

Posted At: 10:00AM, 25 February 2009

Evening Sale: 23 February

Monday's inaugural auction of the Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé collection was anticipated by thousands of collectors, art lovers and dealers. Over 1,200 clients joined Christie’s and Pierre Bergé at the Grand Palais in Paris and 100 telephone bidders were active throughout the two and a half hour sale, to bid on behalf of all international clients unable to come in person to this unique Parisian event. The sale was a world record for a private collection at auction and the highest total for any sale in Europe, totaling €206,154,600 / $266,743,437.

Each of the 7 new world auction records established throughout the sale were welcomed by a round of applause and enthusiasm, enlightening one of the most stunning auction rooms ever to be seen. In this once in a lifetime setting three of the 59 Impressionist and Modern lots of the collection were bought by museums and will be remaining in France. The Musée d’Orsay bought lot 11, Les Lilas, by Edouard Vuillard as well as the painting Au Conservatoire, by James Ensor and the Centre Georges Pompidou acquired a very important work by Giorgio de Chirico, The Ghost.

Les coucous, tapis bleu et rose by Henri Matisse, one of the most adored works by Yves Saint Laurent was the top lot of the sale and established one of the 7 new world auction records, by selling for €35,905,000. The most wanted lot by several collectors was Belle haleine–Eau de voilette, a ready-made by Marcel Duchamp, a lot which took nearly 5 minutes to sell.

On Tuesday, the sale of the collection of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé will continue at 2.00pm, offering 24 lots belonging to the Old Master cluster of the collection. Just a couple of days ago Pierre Bergé donated one of these lots, the tapestry The Adoration of the Magi by Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones to the Musée d’Orsay. At 3.00pm the Silver collection and at 6.00pm the Art Deco collection of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé will be offered for sale.

Posted At: 9:40AM, 24 February 2009

Evening Sale: Final Preparations

Posted At: 12:21PM, 23 February 2009

Public Expostion: Un dernier hommage à Yves Saint Laurent

As the crowds descend on the Grand Palais, guests from across the globe queued for up to 5 hours for their opportunity to explore, enjoy and indulge in one of the greatest collections of art of our time. Reactions from the crowd were as positive as “what are 5 hours in a lifetime to view these exceptional works of art and to have a last chance to experience the esprit de vivre à la Yves Saint Laurent”.

Christie's, in association with Pierre Bergé & Associés threw open the Grand Palais doors to welcome a truly international audience of 12,500 visitors per day and to offer them a once in a lifetime opportunity to witness this uniquely curated collection of art and experience the evocative atmosphere of Yves Saint Laurent’s apartment at rue de Babylone.

Impressionist and Modern works of the Collection, incorporating spectacular pieces by Mondrian, Léger, Picasso and Matisse debut before their sale this Monday evening, alongside the extraordinary silver collection, Old Master paintings and drawings and the very important collection of Art Deco furniture to be sold on Tuesday, all interwoven with the final 350 lots of sculpture, ceramics, furniture, objets d’art and antiquities which will be offered on the final day of the sale, Wednesday 25th February.

A feast for the artistic eyes and creative soul - all on show for public consumption for the first and last time in the indulgent setting of the Grand Palais.

Updated At: 10:12AM, 23 February 2009

Setting the Scene: 20 February

Posted At: 3:48PM, 20 February 2009

Setting the Scene: 18-19 February

Posted At: 3:00PM, 19 February 2009

Setting the Scene: 17 February

Today and tomorrow we give you the opportunity to delve into a unique, behind-the-scenes transformation of the Grand Palais as we pay homage to the inimitable taste, style and elegance of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé. Since Monday, 16 February over 150 workers have taken over the Grand Palais to work night and day to recreate a unique environment.

The building work for the Grand Palais started in 1897 and it was inaugurated in 1900 for the Exposition Universelle, which took place between April and November that same year. A building of over 250 metres in length and 45 metres in height, it is a very fitting and noble setting for such a carefully curated art collection.

Over these two days, quarters from the apartments in which the collection was housed will be recreated inside the Grand Palais' steel rafters, displaying over 700 works of art, sculpture, ceramics, furniture and objets d’art in all their glory. Exclusively observe the sheer scale of the logistics, preparations and the setting, usually hidden from public view, as we prepare for "the sale of the century" and transform this 19th century French national monument into a tribute to the discerning eye of two inspiring and visionary collectors: Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé.

Posted At: 12:14PM, 18 February 2009