Tuesday, April 21, 2009

They Were Collectors

I feel like visiting a Paris apartment today. It's the home of a devoted couple, devoted to each other, and devoted to collecting.

Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge co-founded the Yves Saint Laurent couture house in 1961. It closed in 2002, the year in which the Pierre Berge-Yves Saint Laurent Foundation was established. Berge became the sole owner of the collection in 2008, following the death of Saint Laurent in June, aged 71. Earlier in the year the two of them had formed a civil union.

What a life these two had together! And what a home they made!
Their lifelong collection has been auctioned off to great success in spite of the current global cooling in the financial markets.

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.”

The proceeds will go to the Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent Foundation, and a new foundation that will be set up for scientific research and the fight against AIDS.

Here are a few photos of how they lived in Paris.

The art collection is staggering: Degas, Monet, Matisse, Gaugin, Picasso, Cezanne and Mondrian, Brancusi, Duchamp, Ensor, de Chirico, Gèricault, Dominique Ingres and Jacques-Louis David.

The furniture collection equally awesome: Eileen Gray, Emile Jaques Ruhlman, Gustave Miklos, Edgar Brandt, and Pierre Le Grain. But don't you love the white slipcovers Joni?

There is mystery about the identity of the final buyers. Those at the auction have included Bianca Jagger, Lord Linley and Roman Abramovich, but they are not thought to have purchased much. Most of the running has been made by two young, French, New York-based dealers, Philippe Ségalot and Franck Giraud, working on behalf of unnamed clients.

I love the mix of Impressionist and Modern art, and Oriental, Art Nouveau, Art Deco and French Furniture.

There are also old masters and 19th century drawings, 20th century decorative arts, Asian & Islamic Art and antiquities.

And don't forget the silver, miniatures, and objet d' vertu.

These are images from their Paris homes on rue de Babylone and rue Bonaparte.

The sale was held in one of the world's largest and most prestigious exhibition halls, the Grand Palais, off the Champs-Elysées. A staggering 33,000 people queued to see the collection. Access to the auction room had been strictly controlled, with potential buyers having to prove they had access to at least one and half million dollars in ready cash.

New artist records were set for Henri Matisse, Constantin Brancusi, Piet Mondrian, Marcel Duchamp and James Ensor. Christies reported that 70% of the buyers at that session were European, 30% from the US, and one individual from Asia; Russian collectors bought at least one of the most expensive lots.

Whew and Ooh la la!

I kiss a prayer up to them both.


vicki archer said...

What style, grace (and divine objects) these gentleman lived with, xv.

pve design said...


Kwana said...

Oh to be able to collect like that. A feast everywhere you look. Beautiful.

Anonymous said...

To be blessed with such style! The paintings are stunning - such a perfect melding with the other appointments. Stunning - I soaked up every picture.

P.S. Darling V, Thank you for the 'gift' of cute red bathtub last week - you gave me an idea...

P.P.S. Richie & I finished Grey Gardens last night (We've always had a special love for those ladies). We loved it.

Carla said...

Can you imagine living with so much incredible art. It must make you feel very good in the morning! Carla

jerseygirl211 said...

Another appreciated journey you've taken us on.

Thank you

Hill Country House Girl said...

Wow. What a fantastic collection. Thank you for the beauty and the education!

Fabulous Finds and Co. said...

That is the way I want to live...FABULOUS taste treats for the eye everywhere. Wow... They really knew how to live. When is enough beauty enough. Well... never. More is just better.

Anonymous said...

I can not even imagine the care and upkeep involved with having ALLLLL of this and I'm sure more! But, it is definitely eye candy I adore. I read an article where Berger did not feel he owned all they had, but felt it was on loan! Quite a loan huh. Beautiful beyond imagination. Thanks for the sharing -- LindaLinda

Anonymous said...

Oops-- so sorry for the wrong spelling of Berge'.linda it's all good!

Anonymous said...

With all there is to see, it is the last photo, the black & white portrait, that caught my breath. It's a dream.

DolceDreams said...

So very YSL...Stunning, thank you for sharing!

Paul Pincus said...

that last image is so perfect. he was such a beauty!

Maria Killam said...

Love the purple and green room. Wonderful photos!

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

AMAZING! laurie