The New York Times fills in some of the gaps from the YSL/Bergé sale:
More than 1,200 buyers, dealers, collectors and wealthy art lovers were in their seats as Christie’s staff members took bids from those abroad on 100 telephone lines. Most of the buyers were said to be American and European. [ . . . ] The auction unfolded in the cavernous Grand Palais in central Paris, where thousands of visitors lined up for hours over the weekend to get a chance to see the collection in what became a kind of temporary museum. Mr. Saint Laurent is regarded with great affection and awe here as a paragon of French style, and he evokes an era when no country could challenge French prominence in the world of fashion.
The Matisse was believed to have gone to an American, but Christie’s refused to identify the buyer. Few Matisse paintings of quality come on the market, and each of the three Matisse paintings did better than its estimates.
A remarkable painting by Ensor, “The Jealousy of Pierrot,” sold for $5.38 million. Thomas Seydoux, a Christie’s expert in Impressionist and modern art, described it as “the climax of Ensor’s work,” and noted that it last sold in 1987 for $700,000. “Those masterpieces are never on the market,” he said.
The Duchamp, “Beautiful Breath, Eau de Violets,” was a Dada hallmark. Its label depicts the artist dressed as a woman, Rrose Sélavy, a punning alter ego he created in 1920 in a photo taken by Man Ray. It sold for $10.1 million, more than six times the estimate, after a bidding war between two anonymous American collectors. “People had waited a long time for this to go on the market,” Mr. Seydoux said. [ . . . ]
Isabelle de Wavrin, deputy editor of BeauxArts magazine, said that while Mr. Saint Laurent loved the Picasso, “Picassos are not rare.”
“But everyone is looking for a good Matisse,” she added.
Jean-Marie Baron, an art dealer who bid on some art but could not afford to go high enough, said the sale suggested that to some extent, “the art market is still good and still strong. Almost everywhere they met the high estimate.”
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.
Yves Saint Laurent Art’s First Sale Brings in $264 million (New York Times)