PARIS — Fans of Alberto Pinto’s legendary table settings will be able to snag up everything from plates to napkins and dessert forks at a sale of his personal collection to be held by Christie’s next fall.
Linda Pinto, his sister, and François de Ricqlès, president of Christie’s France, hosted a buffet lunch at the late interior designer’s former apartment in Paris on Thursday to unveil details of the sale, which will feature around 1,200 lots including china, silver, linen, furniture and paintings.
“Alberto was a big collector and he bought a lot when he was alive, so I couldn’t keep it all,” Pinto told WWD. “I will probably feel really emotional on the day of the sale, but I’m pleased that people will have a chance to have a souvenir of him that they can keep and enjoy, as much as he enjoyed buying and living with it.”
Pinto moved into her brother’s flat after his death in 2012 and, with his prior blessing, has since redecorated it to match her style. She has kept some of his objects, including a painting of two young Egyptian boys that hangs in her bedroom and a life-size sculpture by Manolo Valdés that guards the entrance.
Other items in the apartment, including a stool, console table and pedestal table by Claude Lalanne, will be among the star lots at the auction. De Ricqlès said they carry estimates of 120,000 euros to 180,000 euros, or $135,000 to $202,000.
The auction, to be held on Sept. 13 and 14 to coincide with the Paris Biennale, is expected to net a total of four million euros to six million euros, or $4.5 million to $6.7 million, he added. Christie’s will hold an exhibition featuring dinner tables fully set with Pinto’s wares to whet buyers’ appetites.
“Telling a story, creating an ambience, showing someone’s taste — those are the sales that do well today, and that is what collectors and connoisseurs are looking for,” de Ricqlès said.
He pointed to the recent success of the sale of 21 pieces by Diego Giacometti, brother of the sculptor Alberto Giacometti, custom-made for the collection of Hubert de Givenchy.
“It was extraordinary. The estimate was six to eight million euros, and we did 32 million,” he said. “The two biggest lots went to Chinese buyers, which is absolutely revolutionary and new.”
He estimated that tableware makes up 70 percent of the Pinto sale, and while in theory, potential buyers will be able to bid on small items like salt and pepper shakers — some shaped like owls, others like sirens or shells — the presence of increasingly sophisticated Asian collectors could yield unexpected results.