Was Sotheby’s the Favorite to Win the YSL Collection?
Pinault Steps In and Wins the Contest for Christie’s.
What Will This Do for the Paris Auction Market?
London’s First Post gives us the back story on Christie’s not-so-surprising success in getting the YSL art collection to sell in Paris in the Winter of 2009. The Independent confirms that Sotheby’s was close to a deal and values the collection at more than $500 million, making it the largest single owner sale ever. Those who have seen the collection describe it as “a room full of masterpieces.”
Reuters adds this quote from YSL’s dealer:
Antique dealer Alexis Kugel, who told Le Figaro his relation with the collectors was the closest a dealer could have with his clients, said: “For Yves Saint Laurent art was a vital need, indispensable for his inspiration, like water to survive. It soothed his depressive character.”
The Times tries to pour cold water over the whole affair by turning it into an important market test–which it will be–and using a bitchy quote from Godfrey Barker: “We now learn that Saint Laurent moved stealthily to become one of the biggest buyers in the most overpriced sector of the art market – paintings from 1900-25, which cost £5m to £25m each,” said Godfrey Barker, an art-market expert.
All of that may be true but we’d like to point out something else: the YSL sale will have an important effect on the burgeoning Paris auction market. Sales in Paris have been growing with dramatic increases recently. Sotheby’s just released figures that show $138 million in sales; a 104% increase in total sales and a 78% increase in average lot value (though the average lot value remains below $100,000.)
Guillaume Cerutti, Président‐Directeur Général of Sotheby’s said: “Paris is now fast in the ascendant as a major selling centre for quality material in all categories, including those of Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary Art. The global nature of todayʹs art market means that buyers from across the world are now happy to transact in Paris just as they do in London and New York. ”
Buyer breakdown – by lot – for all sales held at Sotheby’s Paris thus far this year: 37% Rest of Europe (inc. Russia); 34% France; 18% Americas (up on 14% last year); 7% Asia (up on 4% in 2007); 3% Middle East (up on 2% in 2007)
With London’s auction volume off the charts, there’s every reason to believe the YSL represents a huge opportunity for Paris to become yet another sales center. Not to put any pressure on Christie’s, though.
Yves St. Laurent Art Works to be Sold (First Post)
£300m: Fashion king’s art collection in sale of century (The Independent)
YSL art hoard to trouser 250 million pounds (The Times of London)