YSL sale breaks records to raise $500 million

YSL sale becomes biggest private art auction in history

The sale of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé’s vast art collection has become the biggest private art auction in history, after raising a total of 373.5 million, or $484.6 million.

Held at Paris’s Grand Palais, the auction quickly became the sale of the century, breaking record after record during the three-day event, in which 730 pieces went under the hammer.

By the first night alone it had already raised €206m, smashing all previous figures for a private auction. Record breakers included an armchair, which became the world’s most expensive piece of 20th century furniture, when it sold for £19.6m, ten times its original estimate.  

The sale was instigated by Bergé, YSL’s former partner and business manager, who amassed the huge collection with the designer. Proceeds from the event will go directly to Aids research and the Bergé-Saint Laurent Foundation.

Following the culmination of the sale, Christie’s chief executive officer, Edward Dolman, commented, ‘If your business is auctions and your life is spent in the art business, this must surely be the greatest moment in our careers. Tonight we saw Paris reclaim its position at the centre of the world’s art market.’

Not everyone was quite so thrilled though; the Chinese Government has condemned the auction and is calling for action, after two bronze statues taken from a Chinese palace 150 years ago were included in the sale.

In a statement posted on its website, The State Administration of Cultural Heritage claimed that it ‘resolutely opposes and condemns all auctions of artefacts illegally taken abroad’ and added, ‘Christie’s must take responsibility for the consequences created by this auction.’

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