The first auction dedicated to the library of Pierre Bergé achieved a total of €11,687,380. The sale offered a stunning selection of 182 works of literary interest spanning six centuries, from the first edition of St Augustine's Confessions, printed in Strasbourg circa 1470, to William Burroughs' Scrap Book 3, published in 1979. Among the top lots were Flaubert’s L’Éducation sentimentale (Lot 91) which sold for €587,720 and Louise Labé’s Oeuvres, one of the most magical books from the French literature that achieved €524,845.
Please note that the sale in Paris will take place at Hôtel Drouot.
Beginning in December 2015, Pierre Bergé & Associés, in collaboration with Sotheby’s, will be auctioning the personal library of Pierre Bergé, which reflects the course of his singular life. As a young man captivated by literature, he left La Rochelle just before passing his Baccalaureate, impatient to write his own magnum opus. Initially guided by writers who were both mentors and friends, including Pierre Mac Orlan, Jean Cocteau and Jean Giono, he worked as an antiquarian book dealer, and gradually developed a passion for collecting. The avid reader became a bibliophile, developing a keen interest in both texts and the quality of the books – fine- and large-paper copies, contemporary bindings, inscribed or annotated copies.
The collection includes 1,600 precious books, manuscripts and musical scores, dating from the 15th to the 20th century. A selection of 100 of these works will be part of a travelling preview exhibition in Monaco, New York, Hong Kong and London during the summer and autumn of 2015. The first part of the library will be auctioned in Paris on 11 December at the Hôtel Drouot, by Antoine Godeau. This first sale will offer a stunning selection of 150 works of literary interest spanning six centuries, from the first edition of St Augustine's Confessions, printed in Strasbourg circa 1470, to William Burroughs' Scrap Book 3, published in 1979.
Yves Saint Laurent once stated: “The world will talk about a Goût Bergé, just as it speaks of a Goût Noailles.” While the auction of their art and furniture collections in 2009 confirmed the couturier’s prediction, Bergé’s library provides further and perhaps more significant testimony, as it reveals a more intimate view of this public figure and his own, very personal journey. This “Bergé taste” is embodied, above all, in a discernment which surpasses mere accumulation – one dictated by a keen eye, the passion of an avid reader, and a penchant for living objects and their lineage, as well as the palimpsest of their specific history. It is also a “world library” with no borders between cultures, as Pierre Bergé sought out the works of his favourite authors in their original language.
The thematic sales which will follow in 2016 and 2017 feature not only literary works, the core of the collection, but also books on botany, gardening, music and the exploration of major philosophical and political ideas.