24/05/2012 Gunter Sachs art sale doubles the estimate
He might have been known as the world's greatest playboy, but the late Gunter Sachs certainly took his art collection very seriously indeed – as demonstrated by the fact that part of it has just sold for a staggering £35.6 million.
The evening sale at Sotheby's London more than doubled expectations after bidders from around the world flocked to its New Bond Street saleroom in the hope of securing a piece of the enviable lifestyle of the man who came to epitomise the 60s and 70s jet set.
Of the 41 lots offered, no fewer than 10 sold for more than £1m apiece, with the star of the show being one of the last self-portraits created by pop artist Andy Warhol – a personal friend of Sachs. The 1986 'Self Portrait (Fright Wig)' soared to £5.3 million from a pre-sale high estimate of £3m, while another Warhol silkscreen entitled 'Flowers' reached £3.7 million.
Four other Warhols that featured in the 'top 10' sellers included an image of Sachs himself, which sold for £1.2 million.
It was, however, the work of the lesser-known artist Allen Jones which caused the greatest surprise of the evening. Comprising a chair, table and hat stand created from life-sized display mannequins, the pieces had belonged to Sachs since their creation in 1969 and had been tipped to realise just £30,000 – 40,000 each. In the event, however, frantic bidding saw the increments rise in six-figure sums until the table was eventually hammered down for £970,850, the chair £836,450 and the hat stand £780,450.
The bizarre pieces were previously displayed in Sachs's bedroom at his St Moritz chalet and allegedly inspired much of his photographic work.
The final lot in the evening auction was the playboy's superb, 1962 Riva Super Ariston launch named 'Dracula III'. Although it more than trebled the pre-sale estimate of £80,000 – £100,000, it seemed a relative bargain at a final price of £385,250.
Sachs, who began collecting art in 1959 after moving to Paris, amassed a personal fortune by building on the inheritance he received at the age of 26 from his father, Willy Sachs, whose company Fichtel and Sachs made ball bearings for the automotive industry.
The remaining 247 lots from the collection – which range from Warhol prints of Chairman Mao to a bust of Sachs's former wife Brigitte Bardot (£3,000 – 5,000) and a scale model of the Riva (£300 – 500) – were expected to realise a total of more than £3 million.