PARIS.- The Hôtel de Crillon sale will be remembered as a spectacular event in which thousands of people took part in an extraordinary atmosphere, rendered possible by meticulous organization.
After welcoming 25,000 visitors in 5 days at the viewing, and selling 10,000 catalogues, the sale of furnishings and wine from the Hôtel de Crillon pulverized its overall estimate to attain 6 million (4.7m hammer), some six times what had been predicted, with 100% of lots sold.
From 2 to 100 times pre-sale estimates
All lots in whatever field furniture, lighting, silver, linen, crockery sold for between 2 and 10 times their initial estimate to buyers from across the world, with some lots those particularly imbued with the magic of the famous de luxe hotel selling for up to 100 times estimate, like the restaurant sign which fetched 26,000 (20,000 hammer) against an estimate of 200-300.
Half the Lots Sold to On-Line Buyers
Thanks to Artcurial Live Bid, 50% of lots were sold to on-line bidders (2700 internet bidders registered) despite the very active saleroom.
New Clients from around the World
There was also the presence of numerous new bidders not used to auctions, keen to acquire a slice of the history of French art de vivre. As well as all the French clients, there were also buyers from the Middle East, Belgium, Russian and various other European countries.
For each lot there were hundreds of bidders on-line, successfully three-quarters of the time, against a very reactive saleroom composed of both regular collectors and new bidders, which all produced an electric atmosphere revealed Stéphane Aubert, one of the auctioneers.
324,800 for the Bar designed by César
On Friday 19 April, in front of a packed saleroom, François Tajan knocked down the bar unit made by César in 1982 for 324,800 (250,000 hammer), against an estimate of 10,000-12,000, to a contemporary art collector from Northern Europe. The bar, some 17 feet long, its front incrusted with faceted mirror, was the subject of a lively bidding war involving 10 prospective buyers in the room and on the phone.
Generally speaking, all the Art Deco-style bar furniture designed by Sonia Rykiel in 1982 fetched high prices: 8,443 for a pair of stools (6, 500 hammer), and 9,093 (7,000 hammer) for an ensemble comprising a sofa, two armchairs with red velvet upholstery, and an adjustable table.
160,600 raised in aid of the Samu Social & Foyer de la Madeleine
The sale for charity of 5 mini-bars and 28 Directoire-style fauteuils from the restaurant Les Ambassadeurs, each customized by an artist or designer, totalled 147,100. And 4 special lots, consisting of a stay and dinner in the new Hôtel de Crillon on the day it reopens, were knocked down at the end of the sale for a total of 13,500. These sums, for which Artcurial waived the buyers premium, will be donated to the Samu Social and the Foyer de la Madeleine. The mini-bar redesigned by Enki Bilal fetched 21,000, while the armchair reworked by Albert Elbaz climbed to 11,000.
77,900 for the Philippe Starck table in Baccarat crystal
The Starck console-table in Baccarat crystal, from the restaurant Les Ambassadeurs, was acquired by a Middle Eastern lady in the saleroom for 77,900 (60,000 hammer), five times estimate.
Enormous Success for furniture from the Presidential Suite
Furniture from the Presidential Suites (Rooms 355/357) was in high demand: a fancy red velvet settee (est. 2500-3000) took 10,400 (8,000 hammer); a pair of red silk curtains 16,900 (13,000 hammer); the rug 17,500 (13,500 hammer); and the coffee-table 7100 (5500 hammer).
Furniture from the Bernstein Suite was also fiercely contested. The bed fetched over de 9000 (7000 hammer), the 4 pairs of curtains 7865 (6400 hammer), and the coffee-table 9100 (7000 hammer), all selling to a great admirer of Leonard Bernstein, and set to be installed in a listed building in south-west France. The rug zoomed to 15,600 (12,000 hammer), ten times estimate, and the two sofas went to the same buyer for a combined 17,000 (6,600 & 6,500 hammer).
The Crillon Effect
A Christofle dessert trolley went to 20,800 (lot 182, 16,000 hammer), five times estimate, while the hotel mantelpieces (27 in total) were all keenly contested. One, in the Louis XV- style (est. 600-800), attained 14,900 (lot 298, 11,500 hammer).
The concierges key rack fetched 11,000 (lot 6, 8500 hammer), ten times estimate, and the Lalique chandeliers from the Obé restaurant doubled their 3000-4000 estimate to reach between 9100 and 10,400 apiece (lots 183-190, 7000-8000 hammer).
Small items were just as popular, like a pair of gilt metal ashtrays that ended up racing to 30 times estimate to bring 4400 (lot 1781, 3400 hammer).
A silvered metal cutlery set went to 10 times estimate, fetching 6500 (lot 1946, 5000 hammer), and 24 wine-glasses, expected to bring just 150-200, soared to 2600 (lot 270, 2000 hammer). Bathroom accessories with an estimate of 300-500 all sold for between 1400 and 3100 (lots 419-438).