La collection Yves Saint Laurent-Pierre Bergé, la vente du siècle
Christiane de Nicolay-Mazery
It was baptized «the sale of the century» due to its extravagant results. The scattering of the Yves Saint Laurent Pierre Bergé collection included, in February 2009, three auction days at the Grand Palais attended by well-known personalities, 733 lots, a revenue of €342 million, and numerous glorious feats, like a Matisse (Les Coucous) sold for €36 million, a wood sculpture by Brancusi at €29 million, Belle halein by Marcel Duchamp at €9 million. But also Enfants De Dreux, by Géricault, which the Louvre did not want in its time, that sold for €9 million, or a Rat Head, a Qing bronze from the XVIIIth century, that was picked off its feet –excuse the expression - at €20 million by the thrust of a Chinese patriot who never paid the bill … These prices seem somewhat unreasonable, aroused only by fetishism: how can a 30-cm wide geodesic dome in amethyst go beyond the €30,000 limit? This auction with all its superlatives deserved an album on glazed paper that also traces its prehistory, in other words the life of the objects in the apartments of rue de Babylone and rue du Bac before they were scattered. One of the fascinating aspects of this unique ensemble is its origins: through art dealers such as Alain Tarica, the Kugel or the Vallois, the duet knitted a link that goes back to the royal families of France and England, to the Goncourt or to Jacques Doucet.
Review published in the newsletter #156 - from 7 January 2010 to 13 January 2010