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I have been to auctions at Drouot and the small towns of West Virginia and Maryland, but this was my first in one of the classy auction houses, Christie’s, located at 9 Avenue Matignon in the fashionable 8th arrondissement off of the Champs Elysees.
29 artistes were given a large lamp in the shape of a standard old fashioned, Edison light bulb and they were asked to produce a piece of art. (The size was 60cm x 40cm x 40cm.) The 29 resultant works of art, titled “Made in Light!”, were auctioned at Christie’s with all of the proceeds to benefit Le Musée en Herbe. This is a museum conceived and opened thirty years ago to permit children to access art and culture through interactive techniques and exhibits. Le Musée en Herbe is located at 21, rue Herold, 75001 Paris.
The “Made in Light” auction preview was at the Espace Fondation EDF where I was attending the very amusing exhibit, En vie aux Frontières du Design. So, quite by accident I came across these delightfully decorated light bulbs and after meeting several of the artists, I was totally motivated to go to the auction.
Christie’s knows how to do things well. The entrance opened onto a wide beautiful stairway leading to the upper floors. As we mounted the stairs to the viewing room, we were greeted with “real” crystal glasses filled with a good quality Rosé wine and little almond cookies. Not too bad to get you into the mood to bid!
The pieces were displayed in a moderate sized room with black walls, floor and ceiling. The lamps to be auctioned were illuminated in that black room looking absolutely delicious. I should also mention that there were plenty of very muscled (and good looking) security guards in black suits. Anyone who was paying in cash could feel very safe!
Fifteen minutes prior to the designated starting hour, we were gently ushered to the ground floor and into a very spacious, lushly carpeted room and comfortable seats. The auction was professional, well organized and fun. Best of all, I went with a friend interested in buying a piece. Auctions are always so much more fun if you are bidding or you are with someone who is bidding. And, yes my friend did get a piece. He is the lucky owner of a beautiful lamp by Marko. Marko is presently taking his inspiration from Hip-Hop and Graffiti art resulting in fun, festive works. Visit his website if you would like to know more,
So, now our friend, Jack, must figure out how to get his new treasure back to Miami. I suggested he leave it with me in Paris, but he said “no way!”. Quel dommage.
photos by Loui Franke
Loui Franke is author of Parisian Postcards: Snapshots of Life in Paris.