Yves Saint Laurent: Sale of the Century


by Zeva Bellel

The "Sale of the Century" begins tomorrow when Christie's opens its doors to a dizzying array of Yves Saint Laurent's personal pieces.

Of the 1,200 objects to reach the auction block at Christie's France over the next four days, the majority come from Château Gabriel, the three-story country estate where YSL and his lifelong partner Pierre Bergé spent their weekends.

The abode, filled to the brim with ornate, rococo furnishings, fleur-de-lys quilted couches, Indian-patterned carpets and knick-knacks galore, was a cornucopia for the senses.

"The atmosphere they created was incredibly loaded. We are very far from minimalism, which is why there is such a profusion of objects,†says Simon de Monicault, furniture specialist at Christie’s France.


Unlike the first sale with its multi-million-Euro lots, this one presents more affordable offerings. Some pieces are estimated at only a few hundred Euros, while the highest, a gothic revival salon set (est. €80,000-120,000), is perhaps the only example of minimalism in comparison to the €32 million Matisse fetched in February.


“It’s not the very grand things, but it’s everything else, including lots of conversation pieces,†says Jonathan Rendell, deputy head of Christie’s America.

Wildly eclectic in terms of period, provenance and style, each piece packs a different decorative punch. While there are no celebrity objects in the lots, there are countless charmers and enough stuff to fill a few dozen homes. Items like an enamel and rock crystal reliquary (€1,000-1,500), an elk antler chandelier (est. €6,000-7,000) or a pair of 19th century stools created for a Queen Hortense ball (€7,000-9,000) turn a ho-hum living room into a style explosion.


The rest of the sale consists of personal bits and bobs from YSL’s Parisian apartment and office, including his 14-piece French Bulldog statuette set, his Hermés crocodile luggage and a treasured collection of eponymous jewels that he kept on his bedside table.

Check out more images after the jump.

Sale of the Century
7-20 November 2009
Théâtre Marigny
Avenue de Marigny
Paris, France 75008 map
tel. +33 01 53 96 70 30