My fantasy self (the one who also gets to the gym every day and vacuums under the couch) will be jetting Geneva-wards tomorrow to bid lavishly on this. It’s an auction of pieces from the estate of ballet dancer Serge Lifar, ranging from posters, programmes and other performance memorabilia to original works from some of the 20th century’s greatest artists.
Lifar, who died in 1986, left behind extensive documentation spanning his whole life, including intimate snapshots of the dancer rolling with the likes of Sergei Diaghilev, Pablo Picasso and Coco Chanel. His notorious 1958 duel with the Marquis de Cuevas is represented by photographs and, most wondrous of all, cornflower blue monogrammed towels which commemorated the event. My fantasy self wouldn’t dry off at the gym (daily) with anything else.
There are dozens of images of Lifar by artists and photographers like Man Ray, Robert Doisneau, George Hoyningen-Huene, Christian Bérard, Cecil Beaton and Pavel Tchelitchew. But the centrepiece of the sale is a significant set of works on paper by Jean Cocteau, including anguished drawings dating from his attempt to kick opium.
Watch a preview below and flick through the catalogue here.
Update: almost half a million dollars for a letter from Coco Chanel!