16/03/2012 Sotheby’s to Sell Pieces from Gunter Sachs Collection
He was best known as the last of the great playboys, famed for his jet-set lifestyle, a high-profile marriage to Brigitte Bardot and the vast inherited wealth that enabled him to indulge numerous passions that ranged from film-making to photography, collecting to motorcycling and astrology to riding the Cresta Run.
Now the Estate of Gunter Sachs is selling close to 300 objects and works of art from Sachs's collection in a two-day Sotheby's auction which is expected to realise in excess of £20 million.
Although it only represents a fraction of the artworks that Sachs amassed during his lifetime, the sale will include seminal examples of Pop Art, Surrealist paintings and 20th Century furniture which carry individual estimates of up to £4 million.
Among the highlights are several works by Andy Warhol, who became a lifelong friend of Sachs after the pair met in St Tropez in 1967. In 1972, Sachs presented one of the artist's biggest European exhibition at his Hamburg gallery but failed to sell a single picture on the opening night – so, to save having to admit to Warhol that the event had been a flop, he secretly bought one third of the exhibits himself.
It proved to be a decidedly shrewd investment, and the sale will be led by one of Warhol's rare 48-inch flower paintings which is expected to fetch £3 - 4 million.
Although Sachs and Bardot were only married for three years, from 1966 to 1969, the pair remained besotted with one another and, five years after the divorce, Sachs commissioned Warhol to paint a portrait of Bardot which appears in the sale, also with a pre-sale estimate of £3 - 4 million. A 1959 Richard Avedon photograph of the legendary French beauty is also on offer at a more modest £40,000 - 60,000.
Other star lots include one of Warhol's last self-portraits, 'Pink Fright Wig' from 1986 (£2 - 3 million), Lucio Fontana's Concetto Spaziale (£700,000 - 900,000) and a superb secretaire desk from 1928 by the leading Art Deco cabinet-maker Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann. It could fetch up to £400,000.
Sachs, who began collecting art in 1959 after moving to Paris, also became known for his talent as a lensman and a group of his own photographs will be included.
As already mentioned, only part of the Gunter Sachs collection will be for sale. The vast majority of his collection will remain untouched, and can be seen from 18 October at the Villa Stuck in Munich. The museum first exhibited the Gunter Sachs collection in 1967, and now the public has the chance, once again, to view the highlights of this important assembly of fascinating and valuable items.
The Gunter Sachs sale takes place at Sotheby's, London, on May 22 - 23. Highlights will be on view at the Sotheby's offices in Paris (April 3 - 5); Zurich (April 18 - 19); Munich (April 24) and New York (May 5 - 9). The pre-sale viewing in London takes place from May 18 - 22. More information at www.sothebys.com.