The Wall Street Journal has a simple answer for the success of today’s YSL/Bergé sale, and it sounds as if they’ve been reading Peter Plagens work:
Collectors and dealers said they had been bidding more cautiously of late but had saved up to compete for art in Mr. Saint Laurent’s collection, largely because they trusted the late designer’s taste in art.
Bidders also may have been tempted by Christie’s marketing machine, which positioned this event as the sale of the century and showcased the pieces in a museum-like exhibit in the Grand Palais, Paris’s glass-domed exposition hall near the Champs-Elysées.
Somehow, we’re hoping that the bidders who went after any of the record-setting works in the auction at least got the full effect of Christie’s hype and were given a personal tour of YSL’s apartment with the paintings in situ. Be that as it may, the WSJ goes on to observe:
The sale won’t be able to fix the art market’s problems overnight, however. Beverly Shreiber Jacoby, a New York art adviser, says the Saint Laurent collection offered cautious collectors a “perfect constellation” of reasons to bid, from a celebrity owner to classic artists like Mondrian who rarely come to auction. “This was an exceptional sale in exceptional circumstances,” Ms. Shreiber Jacoby says. “The market is still tough and buyers are still more discerning, finally.”
Still, collectors, who haven’t had much to admire in the global art market of late, thought the results were refreshing. “It was a beautiful sale that lived up to my expectations,” says Stephane Frappat, a collector who works in the food industry in Russia.
Of the Picasso that failed to find a buyer, Bergé is quoted thus:
After the sale, Mr. Bergé said he was “very happy” with the sale’s outcome and already has plans for his unsold Picasso: “I will keep it.”
Art World’s Stimulus Package: Matisse, Mondrian, not Picasso (Wall Street Journal)