Two beautifully sculpted guards stood outside the doors of Christie's auction house yesterday, armed with stanchions and a counter, ready to receive the crowd that would be arriving at part two of the Yves Saint Laurent sale, featuring his furniture and home furnishings from his weekend home in Deauville situated in the Basse-Normandie region of France.
But at 11.30 a.m. on the first day that was open to the public, the guards had only counted a meager 73 people. The preview had been open for two and a half hours. This was a far cry from the first sale in February, where according to the English newspaper, The Independent, a staggering 33,000 visitors cued for entry over the weekend.
Despite the light drizzle of people, Jonathan Rendell, Deputy Chairman of Christie's America, is still optimistic that the sale will draw some sort of crowd. "This sale is different from the first sale -- the first one was the great collection, this one is about weekend living. It's about fun. I hope to see at least 5,000 people," said Rendell.
The public preview will go on until the 16th of November. The organizers of the auction are optimistic that most of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé (his partner) belongings will be sold, if not for sentimental reasons, then for the simple reason that the items are "cheap as chips," as Rendell boasts. "These are not great works of art, these are home furnishings. "We have priced these pieces according to what the market can bear, we have not added any celebrity factor," he explained.
But amongst the potential buyers milling around, it may be sentiment that coerces them to buy. Thierry Blanchard, a real estate and antiques dealer living in Paris, was at the first Yves Saint Laurent Sale. "This sale is less glamorous, but more emotional, I will certainly try to buy," he remarks.
Among the general public there are a few connoisseurs that know what to look for. Patrick Hourcade was one such person. He described the collection as "a puzzle of sentimental feelings." To the untrained eye, the collection is most certainly a riddle that ranges from saucepans to kitsch ornamental pieces, to tattered sofas and salt a pepper shakers -- but Hourcade, like many of the potential buyers, makes sense of it all. "The imperfection of some of the pieces is part of the game that Yves and Pierre wanted to create. You feel much more alive with this collection than the first one. You can imagine people lying on the sofa by the fire, waiting for a great dinner." And it is perhaps this image of Yves Saint Laurent that people want to buy and take home to own forever.
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