Sotheby’s Paris Is Selling Off the Last of Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent’s Eclectic Art Collection

The first sale from the collection was a landmark in auction history.

French businessman Pierre Bergé poses in front of a portrait of Yves Saint-Laurent by US artist Andy Warhol, on February 11, 2015 at his office in Paris. Photo courtesy Stephane de Sakutin/AFP/Getty Images.
French businessman Pierre Bergé poses in front of a portrait of Yves Saint-Laurent by US artist Andy Warhol, on February 11, 2015 at his office in Paris. Photo courtesy Stephane de Sakutin/AFP/Getty Images.

The estate of the late Pierre Bergé, the on-and-off lover of Yves Saint Laurent and co-founder of the iconic designer’s fashion empire, is going under the hammer at Sotheby’s Paris in October.

Following Saint Laurent’s death in 2008, Bergé sold a significant number of the couple’s collection at Christie’s to raise over $483 million to fund the endowment of two cultural foundations dedicated to the designer. At the time, the sale was a landmark, standing as the most valuable private collection to sell at auction.

Paris, Rue Bonaparte. Photo: courtesy of Sotheby’s Art Digital Studio.

When Bergé passed away last September at the age of 86, he left behind even more art, artifacts, and design. Now, Sotheby’s is preparing to auction the remainder of the couple’s eclectic collection, starting with a special three-day auction at the end of October, where over 800 lots ranging from antiques to modern art from the businessman’s homes in Normandy, Provence, Morocco, and Paris will be sold.

Paris, Rue Bonaparte. Photo: courtesy of Sotheby’s Art Digital Studio.

Highlights include a series of 10 paintings by the French modernist Bernard Buffet (1928-1999) that were recently loaned to retrospectives dedicated to the artist at the Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris in 2016, and an ongoing survey exhibition at the Musée Estrine, in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. The sale will also include 16th and 17th century vanitas, orientalist paintings, antique furniture, and diverse Islamic, African, and Asian artworks.

Bernard Buffet Autoportrait sur fond noir (1956). Photo: courtesy of Sotheby’s Art Digital Studio.

In December, in an additional, dedicated sale, Bergé’s renowned collection of books and manuscripts from his impressive library will hit the auction block, followed by more auctions to be announced in 2019.

A significant portion of the proceeds will go towards the foundations he started—the Pierre Bergé—Yves Saint Laurent Foundation in Paris, and the Fondation Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech.

Saint-Rémy de Provence Photo: courtesy of Nicolas Matheus.

Madison Cox, president of the two foundations said in a statement, “A passionate and voracious collector his entire life, Pierre Bergé had a unique, heartfelt and genuine relationship with the multitude of objects, books, and works of art with which he personally chose to surround himself… The contents of his various residences, while well documented, remained part of his private universe towards the latter part of his life. It is with a great sense of responsibility that the decisions were made to share them at this sale, and to continue the Pierre Bergé legacy.”


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