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Inca chairs make €200,000 at second Yves Saint Laurent sale in Paris

30 November 2009Written by ATG Reporter

THE Yves Saint Laurent/Pierre Bergé sale mark II was never going to be in the same league as the 374m euros spring extravaganza.

This second instalment, the bulk of it contents from the duo's Normandy château, wasn't of the same calibre as the first sale, but then one does have to factor in the same souvenir-hunting element that pervaded the first event.

Those who missed out, or couldn't afford to bid on the Art Deco, 17th century silver-gilt, antiquities or modern paintings last February, may have felt they stood a better chance with some of the more decorative and functional contents from the Château Gabriel this time.

There was little chance of a bargain, with all but 24 of the 1180 lots sold in Christie's/Pierre Bergé & Associés four-day auction from November 17-20. It made just under 9m euros/£8.18m (including premium) for Aids Research, double the presale estimate.

There was the usual raft of huge prices for ordinary pieces that any celebrity sale produces, like the 12,000 euros (£10,910) set of saucepans from Château Gabriel's kitchen. But there were some more serious heavyweight results too, none more than the top lot of the auction, this fantastic pair of armchairs, pictured here.

At first glance they look like something that might have been produced by Bugatti or a more fanciful Deco designer. In fact, they date from the first quarter of the 19th century and their earlier provenance is even more fascinating.

They were probably ordered by Queen Hortense, Napoleon's stepdaughter, for the Bal des Incas at the Tuileries Palace on February 11, 1812, where she appeared dressed as a diamond-draped and feathered Peruvian priestess. They were subsequently in the Sambon-Warneck and Alix de Rothschild collections before selling at Couturier Nicolay in 1972 for Fr98,000.

Up for sale this time with an estimate of just 7000-9000 euros, they duly left that guide in the dust when they were contested to 200,000 euros (£181,820), selling to an Asian buyer.

The buyer's premium was 25/20/12%.

By Anne Crane

Click here for report of the Yves Saint Laurent/Pierre Bergé sale Part I.

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