Gunter Sachs’ apartment at the Palace Hotel in St. Moritz is truly the stuff of legend. The German filmmaker, photographer, and industrialist was granted an extended lease on the penthouse after he financially supported the restoration of the tower following a devastating fire in 1967. And he promptly made it his own, filling it with avant-garde works from renowned artists he could also count as friends, including Andy Warhol, Yves Klein, Allen Jones, and Roy Lichtenstein.
Lichtenstein was commissioned by Sachs to create this piece, a large-scale painted-enamel panel called Composition, for his bathroom in the penthouse and became the focal point of the expansive property. Embodying the artists’ abstract, bold, and punchy Pop style, the piece was mounted below the sink for decades, paired with Leda and the Swan, another famous Lichtenstein work.
St. Moritz was a home from home for Sachs, who was arguably responsible for turning the small Alpine village into a destination for the Jet Set in the 1950s and ’60s, and he reportedly loved nothing more than entertaining his high-profile guests at his Palace Hotel penthouse. Indicative of his eccentric personality, he apparently had a bulletproof glass panel installed and invited his friends to shoot him from the other side. He’d then ask them to autograph their respective bullet holes!
Sotheby’s will be selling Composition, one of just three unique porcelain enamel panels painted by Lichtenstein and with an intrinsic link to one of popular culture’s greatest playboys, at its Contemporary Art Day sale on 17 May in New York, where it’s estimated to realise 900,000–1.2m US dollars.
Photos: Gunter Sachs Estate