Saturday, February 21st, 2009
Pierre Bergé, Yves St. Laurent’s partner of many years and co-owner of the massive $400 million art collection going on the block next week, has made China an offer: I’ll give you the bronze rabbit and rat estimated at $25 million for free if you give your people human rights.
“I’m not about to give the Chinese presents, contrary to what they think,” said Bergé, a businessman, patron of the arts and longtime rights campaigner.
“I am ready to give these Chinese heads to China if they are ready to recognise human rights,” he told French radio.
No word yet on whether the Chinese government has accepted the offer, but it seems more likely that they’ll just keep pressing their case in the courts.
A judge is scheduled to rule on whether the pieces can be included in the sale on the actual morning of the sale. Given that the pieces were looted by Lord Elgin’s troops 150 years ago, chances that China will get the bronzes back are slim.
This collection is mind-boggling. Christie’s even had to split up the catalogue into a different catalogue for each genre because there is just that much treasure.
You can view all the catalogues online. They’re in French and the software is a tad unwieldy, but it’s still a draw-dropping browse. It’s the kind of stuff you’d see at Versailles or Schonbrun or some other absurdly rich locus of power.