Update: The rat and rabbit go for $20 mil each

The three day Yves Saint Laurent auction is done, and the contested Chinese bronzes have sold to anonymous bidders for 20.3 million dollars apiece.

The precious Qing dynasty fountainheads, looted from the imperial Summer Palace by British and French troops 150 years ago, were snapped up one after the other by anonymous telephone bidders.

China had demanded the statues’ return, but the French government said it received no official request from Beijing, and the sale went ahead after a Paris court threw out a Chinese group’s last-ditch attempt to have it stopped.

Not only did the court throw out the last-ditch attempt, but it fined The Association for the Protection of Chinese Art in Europe — the Chinese government-sponsored organization which filed the suit — $2000, to be split between Christie’s and Pierre BergĂ©’s company.

China is seriously put. out. Even Jackie Chan is in high dudgeon, and you know he will fuck a French dude up.

Official wrath was nothing compared with the anger of Chan, who told reporters in Hong Kong: “They remain looted items, no matter whom they were sold to. It was looting yesterday. It is still looting today.”

Chan, who collects and has in several cases donated antiquities, said he was to start filming a movie next year about the search for, and return of, treasures from the palace. “But now we have lost two more pieces. This has made me really angry,” he said, adding that the sale was “shameful”.

China is going to make Christie’s pay, though. They’ve ordered officials to scrutinize every import and export Christie’s tries to make in China from now on, so basically they can kiss their Chinese business goodbye for the time being.

The total haul of the auction was an astonishing $484.5 million, far exceeding estimates. Absurd records were set all over the place, for artists like Matisse, Mondrian, Klee and Brancusi, and for 20th c. furniture. One Art Deco Eileen Gray chair went for $28 million.

To be fair, it is a pretty awesome chair.

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8 Comments »

Comment by Hans
2009-02-27 09:48:28

I’d speculate that China is going to have some paybacks in the long run.

Comment by livius drusus
2009-02-27 13:11:50

You bet. Chinese antiquities are very fashionable now. Christie’s is not going to enjoy being locked out.

 
 
Comment by Hans
2009-02-27 12:20:06

And my dog would absolutely claim that chair as hers, no matter how expensive.

Comment by livius drusus
2009-02-27 13:12:13

:lol: As would my cat.

 
 
Comment by Clutch
2009-03-02 22:51:06

Latest news: one of the mega-bidders was a Chinese auction saboteur. Bid, won — won’t pay.

Comment by livius drusus
2009-03-03 08:21:09

I’m on it. :hattip:

 
 
Comment by Manchurianexile
2009-06-20 18:04:40

Looks like the great “patriotic” act had absolutely no effect at all except pushing the price up. Pierre Berge must have been laughing all the way to the bank.

Comment by livius drusus
2009-07-01 10:34:31

I wonder what the final price was, given that the top bidder didn’t come through.

 
 
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