Yves St Laurent art works to be sold

LAST UPDATED AT 10:00 ON Mon 21 Jul 2008

The battle to win the rights to sell Yves St Laurent's £250m art collection – a contest between Christie's and Sotheby's - has been resolved, with Christie's emerging triumphant. As reported in The First Post last week, the two auction houses had been courting St Laurent's long-time companion and heir, Pierre Berge, long before the French fashion designer died last month aged 71. Sotheby's had been close to sealing the deal, but Francois Pinault, the billionaire French owner of Christie's, appears to have pulled out all the stops to win through.

Says The First Post’s source: "Before Laurent died, Sotheby's were firm favourites, but Pinault managed to talk Berge round. He is a very charming and highly persuasive man." It is believed that Christie's was greatly helped by the fact that Pinault owned the YSL couture house, which he brought in 1999. When the designer retired, Pinault, out of respect for Laurent, sold the company on and refused to let the new owners use the St Laurent name (it is now called Prestige et Haute Couture).

The collection, which will go under the gavel in February in Paris's Grand Palais, and will make Christie's as much as £3m, includes works by Picasso, Matisse, Mondrian, Leger, Brancusi and de Chirico, all of whom inspired YSL’s catwalk creations. It also features ancient Roman works, Renaissance statues, paintings by Ingres, Goya and Warhol, art deco furniture and silver.

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