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Records Set as Yves Saint Laurent Estate Auction Defies Recession


Matisse's 1911 oil painting ''Les coucous, tapis bleu et rose'' (The Cowslips, Blue and Rose Fabric) set a record for the artist, selling for $41.1 million at Christie's art sale from the estate of Yves Saint Laurent. Records were also set for Marcel Duchamp, Constantin Brancusi, James Ensor, Piet Mondrian and Giorgio de Chirico. The auction's first night brought in $264 million:

"Pierre Bergé, who was Mr. Saint Laurent’s business and personal partner for many years, said in a brief interview that he was very happy with the results. 'But you have to know that I’m very cool about things every day,' he said. He was more emotional later at a brief news conference. 'The day Yves Saint Laurent died, I decided this collection had run its course,' he said. 'It was something we created together.' Mr. Saint Laurent died last June at 71. Mr. Bergé said he explored the possibility of creating a museum for Mr. Saint Laurent’s fashion and art collections but that the project proved too difficult. 'Selling it was the only possible solution,' he said. The proceeds, separate from the commissions that his own company, Pierre Bergé & Associés, will presumably share with Christie’s, are to go to the foundation he established with Mr. Saint Laurent, to various cultural projects, to charity and to found a new research center to combat AIDS."

A Telegraph report on the auction and a video tour of the couple's home, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. I'm sorry but the more I read about the extreme wealthy, the more I shake my head. Yves Saint Laurent being an exception as he has worked hard and done much positive with his wealth. However, when I see hedge fundies and brokers making millions trading off of future speculation it makes me sick. A single mother can work her butt off with three jobs and barely make ends meet, while the George W. Bush's of the world are born into life with a silver spoon, an ivy league education and a Presidency they neither worked sincerely for or deserved. I have a friend who works for a very reputable design and architecture firm in NYC. I had the privilege in seeing some of their impressive projects. About 90% of their clients are nouveau riche hedge fund guys who have made their money over the past few years. They have soooo much money they don't know what to do with it, buying up penthouses and combining them, homes in EU, the Hamptons, the Caribbean - how much is too much???

    Posted by: CJ | Feb 24, 2009 12:19:06 PM

  2. It doesn't really defy the recession at all. In the age of instant media coverage, we get to see what we didn't get to see during the great depression. In Germany, for example, the rich who, during the height of the great depression, and throughout ww II and the holocaust, enjoyed some of the most solipsistic, nihilistic times in the history of its wealthy elite. People were starving to death, going to the gas chambers, getting shot dead, and they were throwing decadent parties and purchasing expensive artwork and property like the world wasn't falling apart--like nothing was happening. The fact of the matter is that wealthy people (including nouveau riche european trash) spend just as much in recessions/depressions as they do at any other time. They don't have to stop. Their spending habits are no marker on how people are actually doing.

    And the people who go to these types of art auctions are not "real". This insular little world of hyper wealth is no barometer on anything other than itself.

    Posted by: TANK | Feb 24, 2009 3:23:26 PM

  3. The "rich" have to put their money
    somewhere so it might as well be in a Matisse that rarely comes to auction and the like. At least it will retain its value short of something truly cataclysmic.

    Posted by: Giovanni | Feb 24, 2009 3:35:38 PM

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