A Sotheby's Curator Takes Us Behind the Scenes of the Highly Anticipated Karl Lagerfeld Auction

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Photo credit: Courtesy of Sotheby's
Photo credit: Courtesy of Sotheby's

After doing some bidding of its own, premier auction house Sotheby's secured the opportunity to curate and sell items from Karl Lagerfeld's three homes in Western Europe that feature his most prized possessions in a legendary auction series. Vice President of Sotheby’s France Pierre Mothes says that the design icon's remaining collections (Lagerfeld sold some important collections of art and decor to Christie's in 2000), spread across Paris, Monaco, and Cologne, amasses to more than 4,000 lots that paint an intimate picture of Lagerfeld's impeccable eye, design sense, as well as his private life. It also offers deeper insight into the influences that guided his powerful vision as the artistic director of Fendi from 1965, Chanel from 1983 and Chloé from 1991 before launching his eponymous fashion house.

"The curation process was helped by internal specialists of design, furniture, and memorabilia who worked with us to decide which items would be the most important in paying tribute to Lagerfeld as a man, designer, and collector, and above all, someone very knowledgeable and trustworthy in all aspects of design from the 20th and 21st centuries," says Mothes.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Sotheby's
Photo credit: Courtesy of Sotheby's

The Sotheby's team narrowed the collections down to just over 1,000 lots that anthologize Lagerfeld's taste, knowledge, and influence, as well as his passions for art, design, decorating, photography, and collecting. These spectacular pieces will be auctioned in three cities and online in the coming months. The in-person auction process will begin in Monaco from December 3-5 and will also take place in Paris on December 14-15 and Cologne in the spring of 2022. Online bidding will be available in two sessions: the first will take place from November 16 until December 6 and the second from December 6 until the 16th.

"The auction showcases the global taste of Lagerfeld with pieces from the 18th century to the 1920s all the way to very cutting-edge contemporary pieces," says Mothes. "You can see that Lagerfeld was always interested in many styles and had no exclusivity. He kept this very young approach to things throughout his life."

Photo credit: Courtesy of Sotheby's
Photo credit: Courtesy of Sotheby's

Mothes says that the first sale in Monaco will best highlights Lagerfeld's lavish way of life. This sale features pieces from Louis Süe and André Mar, whose influence on the designer's taste remained throughout his life, as well as a late 18th-century sculpture by Nicolas-François-Daniel Lhuiller. The collection as a whole truly runs the gamut with everything from a stunning silver cutlery set by Jean Burkhalter to mint condition Chanel bags to Jeff Koons's Dom Pérignon Balloon Venus.

Bidders will also discover more intimate pieces from Lagerfeld's Paris home, such as his iconic leather gloves that the designer wore for the last 20 years of his life, a 2013 sculpture of his cat by Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos, and a selection of drawings by the Renaissance man himself. Mothes says the items sourced from his apartment in Paris offers the deepest look at Lagerfeld's desire to keep the decoration of his home "very close to modernity with no nostalgia," as Lagerfeld wanted to leave his present life behind.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Sotheby's
Photo credit: Courtesy of Sotheby's
Photo credit: Courtesy of Sotheby's
Photo credit: Courtesy of Sotheby's

"This collection offers insights of life in the 20th century in its entirety," says Mothes. "He was truly interested in everything from the early 1900s until 2019 and had a taste for the entire period. He was truly a man of his time."

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