God, I love auctions. Especially the high profile ones. Other people get their jollies from watching cage-fights; I like art auctions. And right now, there is no better drama than the sale of the private art collection of Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Berge, currently underway in Paris:
A leather armchair once owned by Yves Saint Laurent fetched 21.9 million euros, or $28 million, at the second night of Christie’s auction of Mr. Saint Laurent’s art collection. The price made the chair the most-expensive piece of 20th-century design sold at auction. The buyer was Cheska Vallois, the dealer who sold it to the French designer in the early 1970s. Why so much? The Art Deco chair is a rare masterpiece made by French designer Eileen Gray around 1917 to 1919.
Whatever can Robert and Cheska Vallois possibly do with this chair that’s worth $28 million?
1. They could put it in the foyer and charge admission for people to see it.
2. They could lock it up in a bank vault, create a replica and park it behind the owner’s desk to show who’s boss. (It’s the guy who can’t bear anything worth less than $28 million touching his bum-bum. Okay, $20 million if you ask nicely, I suppose.)
3. Lend it to a museum and bask in the glory of watching uncomprehending tourists file dutifully past the world’s most expensive piece of furniture, which bears the legend “On loan from the collection of Robert and Cheska Vallois.)
4. Retire to a secret location with their newfound joy and live the rest of their lives in the blissful contemplation of their pricey acquisition, in the daily expectation of a flying visit from the European knockoff version of Danny Ocean and his boys. (Plus Julia Roberts!)
5. Attempt to create the first human-furniture hybrid: what an impressive pedigree that, um, child would have.
6. Sell it.
But the guy who buys it and uses it as his favorite library chair? That’s the guy with all the money. Somebody page that Russian guy who lives in the house with gold bannisters. A $28 million chair should be right up his alley. Although I fear its style might be too restrained for him.
See all the pretty stuff you can’t afford to buy here.