The late Yves Saint Laurent

An auction of the late openly gay fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent’s art collection has earned $262 million just in its first day.

This is said to be an auction record for the sale of a private collection.

In what was billed as “the sale of the century,” the collection will be auctioned over three days in Paris by Christie’s International.

It consists of 733 items such as paintings and sculptures by the likes of Picasso, Henri Matisse, Mondrian and Brancusi.

The collection also includes historical artefacts such as items from ancient Egypt and Rome.

Last December, Laurent’s long-time partner Pierre Bergé told Vanity Fair:

“I decided to sell everything because the collection doesn’t exist if he doesn’t exist. After Yves’s death, to conserve the collection makes no sense.

“I’m very happy to have made with Yves one of the greatest collections of the century. In time people will tell one another, ‘You really should know about these two guys, who lived in the 20th century in Paris.’ I don’t believe in God. I only believe in human beings, in memory. That’s all. The memory will persist.”

The two men reportedly entered into a civil union shortly before Laurent died from a brain tumour in June last year.

A large portion of the proceeds from the auction will go towards a foundation supporting HIV/AIDS research.

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