‘Buying Binge’ at Paris YSL Auction; World (Probably) Not Ending

That’s our art market. As the Dow and the S&P yesterday crashed to a 12-year low, prompting even the most flush Russian art collector to consider calling off the private jet trip to next week’s Armory Show, Christie’s pulled off a coup at the Grand Palais, where the first of six sessions in the Collection of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé mega-sale pulled in €206.15 million ($266.74 million), setting a new record for a single-owner sale at auction. That fragrant 1921 Marcel Duchamp/Man Ray collaboration we had our eye on? It sold for €8.9 million ($11.2 million), nearly six times the high estimate.

In today’s International Herald Tribune, Souren Melikian called the sale of 59 Impressionist and Modern paintings, drawings, and sculpture “an unprecedented triumph” and “a stunning feat,” adding that, “Few even among those who felt confident that Saint Laurent’s name and Bergé’s business acumen would guarantee a significant success imagined that the sale would go so well.” Over at The New York Times, writer Steven Erlanger keeps his cool on the day one sale results, leading with a shrug (“Despite the global economic crisis, a lot of money seems to be left over.”) before highlighting the unsold Picasso. Meanwhile, keep your eye on the Grand Palais. On the block today in three separate sessions: the silver collection, Old Master paintings and drawings, and that stellar collection of Art Deco furniture.

Previously on UnBeige:

  • Christie’s Prepares for YSL Mega-Sale