By: Sallie Brady
Here we go again. Underbidders at February’s historic $483 million sale of couturier Yves Saint Laurent’s collection of art and antiques have another chance to own a piece of the tastemaker’s legacy when the final portion of the estate goes up for sale Nov. 17–20 at Christie’s Paris. This time, look for the contents of Chateau Gabriel, the fantastical 19th-century castle in Deauville that Saint Laurent shared with Pierre Bergé, as well as items from the designer’s home and office in Paris. Proceeds of the 1,200-lot sale, conservatively estimated to fetch €3–4 million, will benefit H.I.V. research.
Some of the estimates are modest; 10 one-of-a-kind semiprecious stone pendants that the designer made for his couture shows and kept on little velvet pillows in his drawing room are estimated under €1,000, but they are almost certain to sell for significant prices. “This is the first time we’re selling something that was created by his hand,” says Jonathan Rendell, deputy chairman of Christie’s Americas. Other personal offerings include 15 pieces of 1970s Louis Vuitton luggage (est. €500); three crocodile Hermès suitcases (est. €4,000–6,000); and a black 2007 Mercedes Benz S-Class 350L (est. €30,000–50,000). “There will be a lot of very tasteful things that everyone will relate to, but not of the exceptional level of the previous sale,” says Benoist Drut of Maison Gerard.
Serious collectors will be competing for Fernand Léger’s gouache Les travailleurs au repos (est. €80,000–120,000); signed Miró and Picasso etchings; and six works by the sculptor César, including L’Homme de Draguignan (est. €40,000–60,000).
Interior decorators and collectors will also be out in force for the eclectic antique furniture and lighting that designer Jacques Grange assembled for Chateau Gabriel. “Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé gave me a theme: the world of Proust’s A la recherche du temps perdu,” says Grange. “This house was not to be a historic reproduction but a vision, an interpretation, almost like a movie.”
To fulfill his Neo-Gothic fantasy, Saint Laurent asked Grange to watch L’Innocente, the final film by Luchino Visconti, who famously used only authentic period antiques on set. He also referred Grange to the interiors of King Ludwig II’s Bavarian castles and the Surrealistic stage sets of Christian Bérard and Jean Cocteau. “Yves loved over-scaled proportions, and when he saw the chandelier in Cocteau’s La belle et la bête, he wanted it,” says Grange, who found a 19th-century 34-arm Dutch ceiling light (est. €50,000–70,000) to hang in the entrance hall. Among Grange’s favorites is a massive Ming basin (est. €40,000–60,000). Much came from legendary 19th-century Paris antiques dealers Georges Comoglio and Madeleine Castaing.
Buyers who want to attend the sale’s exhibition might want to queue up early. In February 35,000 enthusiasts waited as long as six hours to see Saint Laurent’s treasures.