Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Desperate lives

The week before last we spent far too much time watching a Twitter feed from someone at the Yves Saint Laurent sale. An extraordinary result with rare items like Duchamp’s La Belle Haleine – Eau de Voilette (a perfume bottle with a Rose Selvay label) fetching astronomical sums. The YSL estate catalogue (2009 - $US 484 million) now joins the catalogues of the Andy Warhol estate (1988 - $25 million) the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis estate (1996 - $34.5 million) and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor estate (1997 - $23 million) as a marker of extreme shopping and extreme lives. It bears noting that a single Eileen Gray chair at $28 million sold for more than the entire contents of the Andy Warhol estate.

Each of these catalogues reads like a graphic novel, a sensation that has been adapted by Leanne Shapton in Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry. As you might have guessed, the book-with-the-very-long-title has been constructed as an estate auction catalogue. Through the sequence of lots and notes that accompany them the reader falls into the not very successful marriage of Lenore and Harold. And so:

LOT 1232
A brown mug A broken brown glazed mug stamped "brickett Davda Made in England" on base.
Included in lot is a note handwritten by Doolan. R " H I'm so sorry, I know this was your favorite. Will get it fixed, I promise."


LOT 1234
A series of photographs
Twenty photographs taken by Morris of his feet at the end of the bathtub. 5 x 5 in.
Not illustrated

In all 300 lots, and lots of fun.