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SALE PREVIEW / Karl Lagerfeld’s Estate

From dumbbells to drawings, TDE picks highlights from the forthcoming sales of 'The Kaiser'.

By Astrid Malingreau / 2nd December 2021
Martin Szekely, 'Heroic Carbon Desk Loop', 2010 (Lot ????, estimate €30,000-40,000) COURTESY: Sotheby’s / ArtDigital Studio

Martin Szekely, ‘Heroic Carbon Desk Loop’, 2010 (Lot 519, estimate €30,000-40,000. Sold for €63,000)
COURTESY: Sotheby’s / ArtDigital Studio

KARL LAGERFELD, OTHERWISE known as ‘Kaiser Karl’, was one of the most iconic figures of the last decades. His empire expanded far beyond the fashion territories of Chanel, Fendi and his own eponymous brand. He was a collector of epic appetite – insatiable for books, design, black leather driving gloves and accessories for his beloved cat Choupette, amongst other things. Known for his irreverent and sometimes borderline wit he famously declared: “I am very down to earth, just not this earth.”

Jean-Michel Frank, 'Mirror', circa 1930 (Lot ???, estimate €8,000-12,000) COURTESY: Sotheby’s / ArtDigital Studio

Jean-Michel Frank, ‘Mirror’, circa 1930 (Lot 330, estimate €8,000-12,000. Sold for €20,160)
COURTESY: Sotheby’s / ArtDigital Studio

When it came to interiors Lagerfeld was very versatile and changed his surroundings as his taste evolved. In the 1970s he was drawn to Art Deco, which then developed into a passion for the humorous Memphis designs in the 1980s. Following an auction of his Memphis collection in Monaco at Sotheby’s in 1991, the designer turned towards 18th century French decorative arts. For the last twenty years of his life, he surrounded himself with contemporary design by figures such as Marc Newson, Martin Szekely and Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, creating an avant-garde interior style.

Philippe Starck, 'Pair of Dumbbells POAA', 1999 (Lot ??? estimate €80-120) COURTESY: Sotheby’s / ArtDigital Studio

Philippe Starck, ‘Pair of Dumbbells POAA’, 1999 (Lot 546, estimate €80-120. Sold for €5,292)
COURTESY: Sotheby’s / ArtDigital Studio

Sotheby’s will auction the Karl Lagerfeld estate in a titanesque sale of more than 1,000 lots divided between Monaco (3rd-5th December), Paris (14th-15th December), and Cologne (spring 2022).

“Chic is a kind of mayonnaise, either it tastes, or it doesn’t,” he famously said. In his case, the sauce is an exquisite mix of art, design, fashion, cars and wine with an eclectic and truly personal twist. The Monaco auction (Part I) will include a selection of early 20th century works by Louis Süe and André Mare, including the splendid ‘Fleurs’ wall lights from 1922 (Lot 10, estimate €10-15,000, sold for €40,320) – previously owned by Jean Patou, one of Lagerfeld’s first employers.

Louis Süe and André Mare, pair of 'Flower' wall lights, 1922 (Lot ???, estimate €10,000-15,000) COURTESY: Sotheby’s / ArtDigital Studio

Louis Süe and André Mare, pair of ‘Fleurs’ wall lights, 1922 (Lot 10, estimate €10,000-15,000. Sold for €40,320)
COURTESY: Sotheby’s / ArtDigital Studio

This part of the auction also includes the elegant mirror by Jean-Michel Frank (Lot 330, estimate €8,000-12,000, sold for €20,160), as well as lesser-known names such as the beautiful selection of works by Paul Bruno (Lot 237, estimate €3,000-4,000, sold for €27,720).

Paul Bruno, ‘Bar’, 1928 (Lot 237, estimate €3,000-4,000. Sold for €27,720)
COURTESY: Sotheby’s / ArtDigital Studio

“I am a fashion person, and fashion is not only about clothes …”

Karl Lagerfeld

Paul Bruno, ‘Bar’, 1928 (Lot 237, estimate €3,000-4,000. Sold for €27,720)
COURTESY: Sotheby’s / ArtDigital Studio

” … it’s about all kinds of change”

Karl Lagerfeld

The highlights of the Paris sale (part II) include a polished aluminium ‘Zénith’ chair by Marc Newson (Lot 510, estimate €40-60,000, sold for €81,900), an unusual pair of dumbbells by Philippe Starck (Lot 546, estimate €80-120, sold for €5,292) and a selection of works by Martin Szekely including a ‘Heroic Carbon Desk Loop’ (Lot 519, estimate €30,000-40,000, sold for €63,000).

Marc Newson, 'Zénith' armchair, 2003 (Lot ???, estimate €40,000-60,000) COURTESY: Sotheby’s / ArtDigital Studio

Marc Newson, ‘Zénith’ armchair, 2003 (Lot 510, estimate €40,000-60,000)
COURTESY: Sotheby’s / ArtDigital Studio

In the online sales, the drawings of Lagerfeld’s lover Jacques de Bascher by the decorator Jacques Granges should fetch a high price (Lot 1018, estimate €100-150, sold for €30,240), and the drawings by the Kaiser himself (Lot 1019, estimate €400-600, sold for €25,200) should fetch prices well above their high estimate.

Jacques Grange, 'Jacques de Bascher reading a newspaper', 1973 (Lot ???, estimate €100-150) COURTESY: Sotheby’s / ArtDigital Studio

Jacques Grange, ‘Jacques de Bascher reading a newspaper’, 1973 (Lot 1018, estimate €100-150. Sold for €30,240)
COURTESY: Sotheby’s / ArtDigital Studio

The estimates for this sale are incredibly attractive particularly for the early 20th century lots but it will not be surprising if the prices are driven up well above their high estimates, as the pieces have such a fashionable provenance. Whether you decide to raise your paddle, or not, the sale is a true source of inspiration and an example of a man who collected with great freedom, uninfluenced by trends.

Karl Lagerfeld, 'Three drawings of Jacques de Bascher: laying on a bed, reading and naked', ??? (Lot ???, estimate €400-600) COURTESY: Sotheby’s / ArtDigital Studio

Karl Lagerfeld, ‘Three drawings of Jacques de Bascher: laying on a bed, reading and naked’ (Lot 1019, estimate €400-600. Sold for €25,200)
COURTESY: Sotheby’s / ArtDigital Studio

Karl Lagerfeld’s Estate at Sotheby’s.

 

Article by Astrid Malingreau
Article By Astrid Malingreau
Astrid Malingreau is an independent advisor focused on 20th century contemporary design. She previously worked for Christie's in London and New York as a specialist in decorative arts and design. View all articles by Astrid Malingreau