When Christie's released the YSL and Pierre Berge collection auction catalogue late last winter, I didn't waste any time plunking down my $290 to buy a copy of the five volume set. It actually doesn't seem quite so expensive now that I see that copies are available on Amazon for $900. I do know, though, that some of you who wanted to purchase a copy of the catalogues were unable to do so as all 6,000 copies sold out. If that was the case, you might want to consider The Yves Saint Laurent-Pierre Berge Collection: The Sale of the Century, a Christie's/Flammarion collaboration that is a relative bargain compared to the catalogue set.
While not as comprehensive as the actual auction catalogue, the book does a nice job of highlighting the stand out pieces in the pair's collection- no easy feat as the entire collection was chockablock with stellar works of art. Furniture by Jean-Michel Frank, Eileen Gray, and Claude and Francois-Xavier Lalanne are featured as well as paintings by Goya and Leger. Remarks by Christie's specialists and friends of YSL appear alongside the numerous photographs, something which adds additional insight to both YSL and the collection itself. And if, like me, you were wondering how much particular lots went for, the realized prices of the entire collection appear at the back of the book.
If you have the auction catalogues, the images of both the lots as well as YSL's Rue de Babylone apartment and Berge's Rue Bonaparte home will already be familiar to you, but what might be new to you are the behind the scenes photographs of the auction itself. After seeing the images of the well dressed crowd in the Grand Palais, I wish I had finagled a trip to Paris to attend the auction myself. I have a feeling that I would have spent just as much time studying the crowd as much as I would have the collection itself.
The auction held in the Grand Palais, February 23, 2009
Christie's exact replica of the cabinet of curiosities from Yves Saint Laurent's Rue de Babylone home
The real thing, designed by Jacques Grange in the 1980s. The inlaid floor was inspired by that at Franz von Stuck's Munich villa. The cabinets were lined in silk velvet.
YSL's bar designed by Francois-Xavier Lalanne in 1965. From left to right: a cylindrical crystal vase, a spherical ice bucket, a horn of plenty cocktail shaker, and an egg-shaped bottle rack, all held by a nickle silver and brass bar.
YSL in his library; the Fernand Leger painting, "The Blue Medallion" (1928), commanded 649,000 Euros at auction.
(All images copyright Christie, Manson & Woods Ltd. 2009. All images from The Yves Saint Laurent Pierre Berge Collection, The Sale of The Century, published by Flammarion SA Paris, Christie's, 2009)