Sheep sculptures fetch record auction prices

Six unusual sheep sculptures created by late French artist François-Xavier Lalanne fetched a total of 1.4 million francs ($1.54 million) at an auction over the weekend in Crissier, a village near Lausanne in the canton of Vaud.

Sheep sculptures fetch record auction prices
Photo: Galartis

One of the sheep, called Le mouton chocolat, sold for a record 529,000 francs ($584,659) auction house Galartis said.

The animal sculptures were sold in three lots and acquired by three different buyers, Galartis said.

The other lots included a white sheep and a "herd", consisting of one white sheep and three woolly ottomans.

The sculptures, placed on castors, were produced from brushed aluminum, galvanized copper, wood and wool.

The brown sheep by Lalanne (1927-2008) sold for more three times the estimate, Galartis said.

Created between 1976 and 1977, the works had previously graced the interiors of fashion legends such as Coco Chanel and Yves St. Laurent, as well as Spanish artist Salvador Dali, according to the catalogue for the auction.

The sculptures appear to have been inspired by a little-known painting by Dali from 1942 that shows a group of sheep metamorphosing into armchairs, sofas and tables.

Among other works sold at the auction was a 1902 water colour by Bernese painter Albert Anker (1831-1910), “Jeune Bernois faisant ses tâches” (Young Bern boy doing his assignment), which sold for 75,600 francs ($83,554) commission included.

"Jeune Bernois faisant ses tâches" (1902) by Albert Anker. Photo: Galartis

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Rare pink diamond to go under hammer in Geneva

An extremely rare pink diamond will be auctioned in Geneva on November 11 by Sotheby's, which says it is worth between $23 and $38 million.

Rare pink diamond to go under hammer in Geneva
A model poses with the “The Spirit of the Rose” diamond during a press preview on Friday. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Named “The Spirit of the Rose” after a famous Russian ballet, the 14.83-carat diamond mined in Russia is the biggest ever to go under the hammer in its category — “fancy vivid purple-pink”.
The occurrence of pink diamonds in nature is extremely rare in any size,” Gary Schuler, head of Sotheby's jewellery division, said in a statement. “Only one per cent of all pink diamonds are larger than 10-carats.”
Speaking to AFP, Benoit Repellin, head of fine jewellery auctions at Sotheby's Geneva, said the oval-shaped diamond was “completely pure.”
The rough diamond was unearthed by Russia's Alrosa — one of the world's leading diamond producers — in the Republic of Sakha in the northeast of the country in July 2017.
Repellin said it took a painstaking year for cutting masters to turn the diamond into its polished form.
Sotheby's said the world auction record for a diamond and any gemstone or jewel was the “CTF Pink Star”, a 59.60-carat oval pink diamond that sold for $71.2 million in Hong Kong in 2017.
According to Repellin, five out of the 10 most valuable diamonds ever sold at auction were pink.
The sale of this gem coincides with the closure of the world's largest pink diamond mine in Australia after it exhausted its reserves of the precious stones.
The Argyle mine, in the remote Kimberley region of Western Australia, churned out more than 90 percent of the world's pink diamonds.