Christie’s: at the heart of the Givenchy auction

Bukolic. To the melodic sound of birdsong, the approximately 300 guests who enter the Italian theater in Marigny flee from the bustle of the city. It is in this building, erected as a historical monument, a stone’s throw from the Champs-Élysées and a few hundred meters from Christie’s, that the auction house’s event of the year is being held this Tuesday, June 14: the spread of decades of collections by couturier Hubert de Givenchy.

On stage, the small impeccably cut hedges meander in a French garden and rest, chimera, two garden birds by the contemporary sculptor François-Xavier Lalanne and two lying deer by Janine Janet. Tribute to the Manoir du Jonchet (Loire Valley), one of the couturier’s last two residences – along with the Hôtel d’Orrouer (Paris) – from which the pieces he owned until his death in 2018 came from.

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First of four auctions, where a rich collection (more than 1,200 lots) will fly away, collection of modern works and classical furniture (Alberto Giacometti and Pablo Picasso together with Aubusson rugs from the 18th centurye and Console Régence), the event is dedicated to the “masterpieces” acquired by couturier and his companion, Philippe Venet. Sixty-three reasons for an estimate of 46 million euros.


“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Christie’s! “It’s 4pm. In a subdued room where he gets a lectern with lights, Adrien Meyer, president of the Private Sales department, replaced halfway by Cécile Verdier, president of Christie’s France, enters the stage to hold the hammer.

“Choice of theater [qui fut déjà l’écrin de la vente Yves Saint Laurent-Pierre Bergé en 2009, NDLR] aims to add a magnificent, spectacular dimension to the event “, Julien Pradels, CEO of Christie’s France, confided in us minutes before the first auction. Also, as in the show, the” public “fails to applaud certain operations .. .

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Like them, expected, of Migratory bird passage, monumental canvas by Joan Miró dated 1968 (estimated between 2.5 and 3.5 million euros), sold for 5.75 million euros; from spear wildlife, large drawing on black chalk paper by Pablo Picasso (estimated between 1.5 and 2.5 million euros), sold for 3.5 million euros; or David Roetgen’s cylindrical desk with steps and mechanism from the Louis XVI period (estimated between 500,000 and 800,000 euros), a spectacular piece of ingenuity sold for 1.75 million euros – a record for the artist.


From the floor to the balconies – where the members of the offices in Paris, London and New York are located, in line with international collectors – you hold your breath. ” What should we do? [Que faire ?] With eyes riveted on the first rows, Adrien Meyer challenges a bidder. The walking womanlot No. 20 and a masterpiece by Alberto Giacometti, is the most researched piece of the sale. “With the lady, against all the phones! [Avec cette dame, contre tous les téléphones !] »comments the specialist in front of an audience suspended about the future of this bronze of 1.5 meters estimated at the colossal sum of 30 million euros.

“For you, madam! He cuts. Sold 23.5 million. The walking woman will in an instant become the most expensive work sold in a French auction room in 2022. All the items sold for 82.9 million euros will achieve the second highest amount for a home collection sale. “Collectors came for the artistic quality of the objects, but also their affiliation, for Givenchy,” Julien Pradels stressed prior to the event. A commercial success as much as a tribute that crowned decades of collection. Because “these objects are and will remain inhabited by the soul of the couturier” …

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