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Six years after selling off his art collection in a record-breaking "sale of the century", the French businessman and philanthropist Pierre Berge is now putting his renowned library under the hammer.

The lover and business partner of the late designer Yves Saint Laurent told AFP he is putting almost his entire collection up for auction, one of the most priceless in private hands.

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In 2013, the US Attorney’s Office in Newark, New Jersey, filed an action seeking the forfeiture of a 2,000-strong collection of photographs valued at more than $15m. The works had been bought by Philip Rivkin, the owner of the Houston-based company Green Diesel, who this June pleaded guilty for his role in a massive biodiesel fraud scheme. The Attorney’s Office says the photographs were bought using the proceeds of the fraud, allegedly to launder the money.

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Next week, The Lock, one of John Constable’s most famous compositions will reappear on the market for the first time in 160 years. The monumental landscape - depicting the countryside of the painter’s “careless boyhood” - will lead Sotheby’s London Evening auction of Old Master & British Paintings on 9th December. The sale will be further distinguished by museum-quality works, an unusually large number of which are from private collections and come to the market for the first time in several generations.

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The New York evening sales concluded tonight with the Impressionist and modern sale at Christie’s, which racked up $145.5 million, well above its low estimate of $108.8 million—a quite successful tally accrued during a slow, steady waltz through a list of 59 relatively low-priced lots. The almost complete lack of any sky-high estimates—only two lots had valuations that passed into eight figures—allowed attendees to raise their paddles early and often, and a solid 83 percent of the cautiously priced works found buyers.

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Friday, 13 November 2015 10:20

A German Casino Sold Off Two Warhols to Pay Debts

The sale of the Warhols went ahead, and the works ended up as the two top-selling lots in a record-breaking auction, netting a combined $151.5 million and surpassing the pre-sale high estimate of a combined $128 million.

A year after the sale, almost to the day, the German paper FAZ reported that the proceeds were in fact used to pay off the state-owned casino's considerable debt despite previous denials. The German daily quotes WestSpiel's annual financial report that described the sale of the artworks as “an important step towards ensuring future viability."

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An untitled "blackboard" work by Cy Twombly sold for a record-setting $70.5 million at Sotheby's on Wednesday, leading the way to a $295 million total at the auction house's sale of contemporary and post-war art.

The untitled oil and crayon-on-canvas from 1968, one of the artist's seminal blackboard works meant to resemble chalk on blackboard, was sold to an anonymous client and exceeded Sotheby's' estimate of a sale price in excess of $60 million.

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A spectacular pink diamond, the largest of its kind to ever appear at auction, sold for $28.5 million (26.6 million euros) on Tuesday, narrowly beating auction house Christie's projection. 

An unidentified bidder snatched up the 16.08-carat rare gemstone, kicking off a week of auctions that could see another colored diamond set a new world record.

That stone, a 12.03-carat blue diamond described by experts as flawless, is being sold by rival auction house Sotheby's on Wednesday, and could fetch a record $55 million.

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Christie's on Monday smashed world record prices at auction for Amedeo Modigliani and Roy Lichtenstein, selling works by the artists for $170.4 million and $95.37 million respectively.

Modigliani's "Nu Couche" or "Reclining Nude," painted in 1917-18, sold in New York after a frantic nine-minute bidding war in the first time the painting has ever come to auction. 

It was the second highest price ever achieved at auction for a work or art, Christie's said. Applause erupted in the packed room when the sale concluded.

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One of the world’s largest watch collections, owned by a Dutch dynastic family that dates back to the 13th century, is going under the hammer at Bonhams in December.

Containing 2,000 timepieces, the collection belongs to the late Jan Willem Frederik baron van Wassenaer, and is so vast that the pieces will be sold in instalments, via various auctions, throughout 2016.

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Money Hat, a one-of-a-kind artwork by Andy Warhol, created at the height of his artistic prominence in the ’70s, is coming up for auction on November 11, 2014, with an estimated sale price of $800,000-1,200,000.

The sale is being handled by Nye and Company Auctioneers / Appraisers of Bloomfield, N.J., and will be offered online for a period of three weeks, after which desirous parties can place bids prior to the live sale at the auction house in Bloomfield on November 11.

Warhol was prolific across a spectrum of media, but millinery was never one of them. That is, until 1972, when the preeminent Pop artist adorned a straw hat with a band of 10-dollar bills. One of the bills is signed by Warhol, making the consignment of this unique all the more rare and important.

Adding to the significance of this atypical objet d’art is that the headpiece that served as Warhol’s “canvas” was confected by Halston, the iconic fashion designer of the 1970s.

Warhol presented Money Hat as a 30th-birthday gift to his friend and confidante Dr. Robert Giller, and is being consigned, with impeccable provenance, by Dr. Giller’s widow. With the exception of a recent traveling three-stop museum exhibit about Warhol and Halston, Money Hat has not been on view to the public.

Dr. Giller can be seen wearing the hat in Andy Warhol’s Exposures, a book published in 1979 and filled with celebrity photos Warhol took with his ever-at-hand Kodak TX-36. Dr. Giller’s copy of the book, autographed on the cover and inscribed on the title page To the Doc/Love, Andy, is part of the lot.

Says John Nye: “It is not every day that an undiscovered work by Warhol comes to the market, much less one in the form of a hat, so my company is elated to be able to put it before the public in this auction,” adding that “We are anticipating a lot of spirited bidding.”

The public is welcomed and encouraged to attend the exhibition at Nye and Company in Bloomfield and to bid at the live auction. With the exception of Saturday, November 7, Money Hat will be available for viewing every day at the Nye and Company galleries until the auction closes on November 11. The galleries are open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Sunday, November 8, the exhibition will open at 12 Noon and remain open until 7 p.m. for a reception. Condition reports and additional photographs are available for those unable to make it to Bloomfield.

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