Christie's Yves Saint Laurent Auction Rakes in $477 Million

Posted on February 26, 2009

Yves Chair Auctioned 28 millionBloomberg reports that Christie's auction of art works owned by the late fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent was a big success. The auction raised $477 million. The success of the auction is uplifting for art buyers and art dealers who are concerned about the recession's impact on the sale of art. Bloomberg reports 96% of the lots sold at the auction in Paris.
Christie's International's six-session sale in the Art Nouveau exhibition hall of Paris's Grand Palais raised a combined 374.4 million euros with fees ($477 million), beating estimates of 200 million euros to 300 million euros. The London- based auction house said nearly 96 percent of the 689 lots sold. Estimates don't include Christie's fees.

"After this, people will believe that it's a good thing to buy art," Pierre-Yves Machault, a Paris-based dealer, said in an interview. "It will help them understand that if you buy good things, they will keep their value -- even if you’re not Saint Laurent. It makes me more optimistic."

The biggest-grossing auction of a private collection was boosted by the quality of items on offer and the number of people who shared the taste of the late fashion designer and his former partner Pierre Berge, said collectors. The proportion of lots selling at some other auctions -- and prices of works -- have dropped in the economic slump.
One chair alone - the Dragon's Armchair (pictured on right) - sold for $24 million. There's also a controversy over a couple bronze pieces from China that China wants back. The artifacts were stolen from China in 1860.