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What Happened To Designer Lagerfeld’s Art Collection

As an iconic fashion designer, memories of Karl Otto Lagerfeld will definitely live on for years to come. The late supreme designer was an interesting human, right from the way he presented himself. His trademark look which would never go unrecognizable, always included: dark glasses, high collars, fingerless gloves and his neatly made – white hair ponytail.

Lagerfeld’s success as a fashion designer is what most people remember him for. Until he met his death, Lagerfeld was the creative director of the ‘French Fashion House Chanel’ since 1983. He also worked as the creative director of the ‘Italian fur and leather goods fashion house Fendi’, as well as managed his own label”.

However, other than making quite an impact in the Fashion Industry, Lagerfeld is also remembered for his art collection.

As an art collector, Mr Lagerfeld was unsurpassable. He had it in him to identify quality work and acquire it by all means, for he would tell something of worth. He once said “It is clever to find something cheap and buy it because no one else sees how important it is. I bought a Steichen print for $3,000 dollars some time ago and recently it fetched $2.5 million.”

His art collecting was unquenchable. With obviously great taste, he spent lavishly on decorating his many houses. Lagerfeld fancied decorative arts of the 18th Century with a little touch of Prussian aesthetics.

His love for art collection would have him purchase art pieces at any cost; sculptures, paintings, furniture eccetera eccetera at auction sales and galleries in London and Paris. Much of his collection would be of royal provenance; Memphis furniture designed by Ettore Sottsass, and contemporary design art by the likes of Marc Newson.

These collection were sold as whole when he decided to move onto something new, a trend he was so much into.

In 2000, what was thought of as a routine was suddenly put to a stop. The fashion designer decided to sell all his collection. Lagerfeld said he was interested in trying something new, with claims of been tired of the ‘Ancien Régime’ style (around 15th Century France style of art) and wanted to try the ‘Zen Baroque’ style (17th Century Italian style of art). However, what would seem to be a more serious reason for his then change of art collection style, could be a record tax bill of 200m francs (around €40m). It is said that the fashion designer eluded paying tax with claims of living in Monte Carlo, but he lived and worked almost everywhere but Monaco.

Christie’s Auction House sold 150 of Lagerfeld’s paintings, in New York and 400 pieces of furniture and art works in Monaco, for a sale which amounted to 150m francs (about €30m).

Some of the things, such as a four- poster bed which cost him a couple of millions did not sell.

In the art world, the German native designer, will also be remembered as big fan of Pop Art and Minimalism. He once challenged his audience’s intellect, imagination and emotional core by creating a crazy combo of Art and Fashion. “The idea came from people who overreact to art today. It’s all become a little too much,” Lagerfeld said.

 Born on September 10th 1933, Lagerfeld died at the age of 85 on February 19th 2019.

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