The winning bidder of a pair of Chinese bronzes auctioned off in Paris, France, emerged Monday as a collection adviser from China’s National Treasures Fund, and he has refused to pay, Xinhua news agency reported. Cai Mingchao placed the $39.63 million (31.49 million euro) phone bid on Wednesday for the two sculptured bronze heads of a rat and a rabbit dating from China’s Qing Dynasty. The relics were part of the late Yves Saint Laurent’s private collection of arts and antiquities.
When Christie’s announced its plans to auction off two 18th-century bronze sculptures, the Chinese flatly said "no." At the center of the dispute are two bronze sculptures, part of the late Yves Saint Laurent’s private collection of arts and antiquities. The two 18th-century pieces — fountainheads of a rabbit and a rat — disappeared when French and British Allied forces pillaged Beijing’s Old Summer Palace during the second Opium War in 1860. China says the relics are part of its cultural heritage and should be returned.
A three-day auction of art and furnishings that belonged to the late fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent is seeing sale prices far exceeding estimates, with dollar amounts almost as spectacular as the range of items being sold. A list of artwork already sold in the Monday-to-Wednesday auction in Paris shows pieces from Matisse to Brancusi fetching tens of millions of dollars, according to the Web site of Christie’s, the auction house that is holding the sale. The largest amount so far was €35,905,000 ($45,264,579), the price realized for French Impressionist Henri Matisse’s painting “Les coucous, tapis bleu et rose.” That was more than double Christie’s estimate of €12 to 18 million ($15,526,268 and $23,289,403)