$28M Just Doesn’t Buy You That Much Anymore

25 Feb


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.


Posted by on February 25, 2009 in Life, News


13 responses to “$28M Just Doesn’t Buy You That Much Anymore

  1. Amey

    February 25, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    That chair is worth $28 mil? Then again, trash cans cost $1400 now, so chair may cost that much.

    And I was so looking forward to buying some furniture for my spartan apartments 😦

    BTW, why is somebody flirting with me via comments on your blog?

  2. wordjunkie

    February 25, 2009 at 11:29 pm

    And it’s uuugglyy.

    “But the guy who buys it and uses it as his favorite library chair? That’s the guy with all the money…”

    Nah, the guy who buys it and lets his cat sleep on it, that’s the money,honey!

  3. pitu

    February 26, 2009 at 12:16 am

    My spectacular memory for retro movies reminds me of the hilarious scene from ‘Aaina’ where Amrita Singh spends crazy money on a COMMODE among other things 😀

  4. Kokonad

    February 26, 2009 at 12:43 am

    Talking of commodes

  5. Mamma Mia! Me a Mamma?!?

    February 26, 2009 at 12:58 am

    what next? his chest hair?

  6. Banno

    February 26, 2009 at 3:14 am

    How many millions for the Emperor’s new clothes?

    Pitu, commode? I’ve been looking for a reason to see ‘Aaina’ again, this could be it.

    But yes, I do know someone personally who spent 40,000 INR on a bidet imported from Germany. Teja and I were suitably shocked, but I guess that’s just us being middle-class.

  7. pitu

    February 26, 2009 at 3:56 am

    Banno: Saeed Jaffrey’s British hamming when he notices said commode (along with bathtub etc) in his living room is nothing short of lolz. Of course that is perhaps the last scene in which Amrita is ‘somewhat’ normal.

    Also, don’t the Mittals have a gem studded pool? And I think Nicolai Ceausescu had a golden potty but that may just be an exaggeration of my crazy Belgian uncle. He did so hate Romania.

  8. wordjunkie

    February 26, 2009 at 7:23 am

    BTW, great post at Ultra violet.

  9. memsaab

    February 26, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    I hope it’s at least comfortable. It doesn’t LOOK comfortable.

    Did you notice that St. Laurent only had three carpets and three clocks to sell, but 10 pieces of arms and armor? and OODLES of paintings and furniture. Do you think they just preferred bare floors and not knowing what time it was?

  10. Gagan

    February 26, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    big fan of YSL but wow that is just trop

    28 million …. my inner reaction.. ” fuck me” and no other thoughts after that.. just another ” fuck me” and ok back to ^%$# work.


  11. Rachel Marie Walsh

    February 27, 2009 at 8:01 am

    Robert and Cheska own a specialist art gallery in Paris.They bought the chair on behalf of a private collector who is pursuing a design theme in there home to which the chair corresponds. Hey, its their money…

  12. Amrita

    February 27, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    Amey – well, how about some Matisse for your spartan apartment? I think Matisse goes with everything, don’t you?
    As for the flirty lady… I don’t know but I’d suggest you keep a close watch on your pet bunny rabbit if any.

    Wordjunkie – I didn’t think it was ugly. It’s just “not beautiful”. But to be fair to the chair, I don’t find most chairs beautiful. And thank you 🙂

    Pitu – I don’t remember that part (kudoes to you for remembering!) but I do remember that hideous house that Jackie built for her, apparently in the middle of nowhere, and full of mirrors so she could admire herself all day. Hilarious! .. why’d your Belgian uncle hate Romania?

    Koke – ok, the only thing that came to mind when I saw that: that thing is gonna be a bitch to clean. I bet the person who has to clean their bathrooms isn’t too happy. Why couldn’t they have sprung for a nice golden commode instead? So much easier!

    Mamma – ew, ew, EW!

    Banno – I didn’t know the Germans wash their bums better, it must be that famous Germanic efficiency.

    Memsaab – their love nest was not a hostage to time! My prosaic guess is that Berge still needs carpets and clocks for his home but doesn’t need 28 million dollar uncomfortable antique chairs.

    Gagan – on the chair you mean? 😀

    Rachel – so I hear. That must have been some kind of design theme! I wonder what they would have done if YSL hadn’t died?

  13. pitu

    February 27, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    He disliked *all* European countries except his own and thought Belgium was perfect. Dunno why. Apparently Bruxelles could beat Paris, London, Athens etc in everything. We actually visited Belgium once after he sang its praises and it is the most thakela country ever. Rather odd he was. He loved my mom’s cooking and he used to add YOGHURT to her Bengali desserts and eat them with enthusiasm :-p I even tried it once, gulabjamuns + yoghurt = HORRENDOUS!

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