Artprice: Pierre Berge-Yves Saint-Laurent Sale – the Big Event of the Year

February 23, 2009

PARIS, February 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — For at least six months, the
sale of the Pierre Berge and Yves Saint Laurent collection has been the focus
of much media attention, described as the “sale of the century”. At a time
when The Art Market Confidence Index (AMCI) was firmly in the red, the means
allocated to the sale of some 691 lots are commensurate with the works being
presented: exceptional. According to thierry Ehrmann, Artprice chairman and
founder, “this milestone sale might keep France in its 4th position of the
art revenue ranking.” (Rank #1: USA, #2 United Kingdom, #3 China, #5 Germany
- Source: Art Market Trends 2007).

Pierre Berge has chosen Christie’s to officiate and the Grand Palais de
Paris as the stage for this prestigious sale. Under the monumental glass
dome, this auction marathon will last three days (from 23 to 25 February
) with pieces from the Far-East, others dating back to Antiquity,
numerous sculptures and works of art, works in gold and silver, enamels from
the 16th century, drawings from the 19th century, works signed by the major
names in Art Deco and numerous Old and Modern masterpieces. Some signatures
seldom seen at public auctions will be offered including Ingres, Franz Hals,

Jacques-Louis David and Gericault. Among the five Theodore GERICAULT works on
offer is one of the most famous double portraits in the entire history of
painting: that of Alfred and Elisabeth Dedreux. Christie’s is expecting EUR6m
for this work, a figure that would refresh the previous Gericault record held
since 1989 by Portrait de Laure Bro, nee de Comeres which fetched EUR4.9m at
Sotheby’s in Monaco.

In the Modern Art category, there is a whole series of star names:
Giacometti, Juan Gris, Vuillard, Paul Klee, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Amedeo
Modigliani, Edward Munch, Odilon Redon, the Douanier Rousseau, Seurat, Manet,
Gustav Klimt, and more. The collection contains some truly historic pieces
including an oak wood sculpture by Constantin BRANCUSI entitled Madame L.R.
(Portrait de Mme L.R.). This rarity could well fetch more than Brancusi’s
current record for Oiseau dans l’espace ($24.5m in 2005 at Christie’s) if it
reaches its high estimate of EUR20m. Before it joined the Berge / Saint
Laurent collection (where Pierre Berge like to show it alongside a Senoufo
sculpture), Madame L.R. belonged to Fernand Leger. Apart from its artistic
qualities, the ownership background of this piece is an undoubted bonus. No
less than six works by Fernand LEGER will be offered for sale, including the
impressive painting La tasse de the, a hymn to 1921 modernity. Should the
work reach its EUR15m target, it will be among the artist’s four most
expensive hammer prices. The art market, which rarely sees Piet MONDRIAAN
paintings at auctions nowadays, will be offered three “neoplastic”
Compositions by the artist on the same day (estimated at between EUR5m and
). The paintings are large formats. Nothing larger than 50 cm has been
seen at auction for five years. The most recently sold large format Mondrian
painting, New York, Boogie Woogie (95.2 x 92 cm) fetched $18.75m (EUR14.6m)
at Sotheby’s NY in 2004. Christie’s expects to generate even more from a
superb cubist work by Pablo PICASSO, Musical Instruments on a Pedestal Table
(estimated at EUR25m to EUR30m).

Pierre Berge and Yves Saint Laurent did not collect works of contemporary
art, preferring to focus on historical works that represent the opening of
the 20th century to contemporary art. One such work is Belle haleine – Eau de
voilette, a ready-made bottle on which Marcel DUCHAMP appears dressed up as

Rrose Selavy from a photograph by Man Ray. This emblematic work is estimated
at EUR1m to 1.5m.

In this turbulent period for the art market in which auctioneers have
adopted prudent sales strategies at the major sales since the beginning of
2009 by minimising the number of lots offered, this sale represents a clear
exception: the superb works on offer – with the cachet of their prestigious
origin – will reach peak prices. As long as pieces are considered “major”,
the crisis does not appear to be preventing new records from being set. This
was the case, for example, of Petite danseuse de quatorze ans by Edgar DEGAS,
which fetched GBP11.8m on 3 February 2009 at Sotheby’s (EUR13.2m), setting a
new record for a sculpture by that artist.

Source: http://www.artprice.com (c)1987-2009 thierry Ehrmann

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SOURCE Artprice.com

Source: newswire

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