Though Yves Saint Laurent had an innate talent for designing head-turning couture and ready-to-wear garments and accessories, he and his partner, Pierre Bergé, shared a mutual talent for collecting and decorating homes – all stunningly exotic and appropriately filled with unique rarities to match. Now, thanks to Sotheby’s and Pierre Bergé & Associés, the couple’s trove of home furnishings from all four of their palatial homes is set to go to auction over the next year in a series of curated sales entitled “From One Home to Another.” Below, AD exclusively reveals a first look at some of the lots on offer.
“They were pioneers in collecting works from the Art Deco period at a time when only a few aesthetes were,” Antoine Godeau, president of the Paris-based Pierre Bergé & Associés, which seeks to preserve the legacy of both Saint Laurent and Bergé, tells AD. “They occasionally sought advice from major art advisors for remarkable works ranging from 16th and 17th centuries to the Modern period, but they leafed through auction catalogs and spent significant time visiting antiques dealers and galleries.”
“This picture shows one of Pierre Bergé’s favorite rooms and perfectly illustrates his eclectic taste. In the privacy of his living room, he was surrounded by African masks, Oceanic art, and memento mori, but also Montelupo ceramics as well as two major paintings by Bernard Buffet – Le Boeuf Écorché and Le Trompettiste – which testify to their shared passion for the history of the 1950s. The passion for Morocco and Islamic art can be seen through the Iznik plates hung on the wall next to the window,” says Godeau.
From their home base on Rue Bonaparte in Paris to their three cleverly named hideaways – the Datcha in Normandy; Mas Theo in Provence; and Villa Marbrouka in Marrakech, Morocco – it’s easy to see that the two seasoned collectors were open-minded and did not subscribe to a single era or style. “They had their own taste,” Godeau adds. “They were both avid collectors and tirelessly curious minds.” Among the more than 800 lots are many coveted examples of Berber and Islamic art that inspired YSL’s designs, as well as early commissioned works from artist duo Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne. There’s even a set of works by Picasso, arguably some of the most anticipated items available in the auction. Together, it’s expected that between $5.8 million to $9.3 million will be raised.
“As a young man captivated by literature, Pierre Bergé left La Rochelle just before passing his Baccalaureate, impatient to write his own great opus. Initially guided by writers who were both mentors and friends, including Pierre Mac Orlan, Jean Cocteau, and Jean Giono, he worked as an antiquarian book dealer, and gradually developed a passion for collecting. The avid reader became a bibliophile, developing a keen interest in both texts and the quality of the books: fine- and large-paper copies, contemporary bindings, inscribed or annotated copies,” says Godeau. “Long kept secret: Pierre Bergé’s library – which is divided in six sales from December 2015; part four will be sold in December by Pierre Bergé & Associés and Sotheby’s in December at Drouot – revealed a little-known facet of the man who dedicated his life to all forms of creation in which the book, in all its forms, played a leading role.”