March 14, 2011

Whoa, Pierre Berge!


You may remember Pierre Berge & Associes from such insane auctions as his partner Yves Saint Laurent's, and that out-of-nowhere Designs for Kids sale last winter. Next up, toward the end of the month, is the deceptively titled Shabby Chic. Mondo-Blogo nailed it when he called it Pierre's Wunderkammer, though I can understand if the Belgians are still a little cool to the idea of speaking German.

Anyway, it is an awesome freakshow of useless baubles, wacky taxidermy, exotic trophies, and random, deluxe doodads. With a few fascinating enfant-related items thrown into the mix.

I'll lead off big with Lot 624: un Ancien vélo d'enfant [est. EUR 1500-1800], which may go by the name draisienne, and which is now famous as the original inspiration for the Like-A-Bike.


Lot 620: a polychrome cradle with some unidentified scenes painted on it [est. 2500-3000]. Berge doesn't waste money on needless scholarship or catalogue text writing; that way, he can pass the savings onto--well, I guess he keeps them. You connoisseur types can figure this stuff out on your own, non?

Here are a trio of ride-on toys:


Lot 495: a painted wood horse-trike [est. EUR 180-200]


Lot 496: A pull-along elk with real antlers [est. EUR 500-700]


Lot 497: A 19th century polychrome rocking horse chair [EUR 150-200]


Lot 858: a 1930's era photograph of a classroom in China [est. EUR 200-300] Assuming this really is from China, I'm going to guess that it's from Taiwan's period as a Japanese colony. Because, otherwise, I doubt many Chinese schools in that era were teaching kids to write "Japan Peace" in katakana.


And finally, a baby what?? Lot 708: Coupe de bébé rhinocéros en résine [Eur 700-900] I think this just means a stuffed, freakin' baby rhinoceros. Does the coupe mean it's cut, maybe sliced down the middle, Damien Hirst-style? Whatever, the weirdest baby thing still barely beats the average for weirdness at this auction. If you're in Brussels, you should definitely check it out in person.

Shabby Chic 3: Mar 28, 2011 [ via mondo-blogo]


Of course the auction houses should just stop offering catalog descriptions, its genius! No one is ever unhappy that way. Sotheby's could just say, "Magnum of Lafite, initials 'B.F' in foil, c. 1789" and no one can gainsay them. How about "Dancing figure in bronze, inscribed 'Renoir,' c. 1900, est. €900,000." But really, they nailed it with the drasienne--it's "ancienne!" 1936 is ancienne, right?

Why would anyone buy a stuffed baby rhino?

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