BIDDING FOR MONA LISA: No, the Mona Lisa is not up for grabs. But you can put in an offer for the chance to attend her annual inspection — outside of the display case — as part of Christie’s “Bid for the Louvre” online auction for the world-famous museum, with support from auction house Drouot and luxury brands including Cartier, Vacheron Constantin, Louis Vuitton and Dior.
The sale, set to run from Dec. 1 to 15, will feature 24 lots including a Louvre Museum visit with guests by night; a viewing of the hidden jewels of the Drawing Room; a private concert in the Caryatids Hall, and a visit of the museum rooftops with artist JR.
Vacheron Constantin is offering timepieces from its Les Cabinotiers collection, allowing the winning bidder to choose a piece of art from the museum to be reproduced in miniature, with enamel, on the dial.
The watchmaker’s chief executive officer, Louis Ferla, who struck up a partnership with the Louvre a year ago, said that the tie-up had taken on more meaning in the “troubled and challenging” context.
With the coronavirus pandemic grounding global travel, European luxury houses have had to scramble to shift efforts to wooing consumers in their home markets and online after years of targeting deep-pocketed travelers in the continent’s capital cities.
Other auction lots include a Cartier Panthère bracelet along with a private visit of the crown jewels of France; a private visit of the Tuileries gardens followed by a tour of the Christian Dior archives; and a culinary-themed visit of the Louvre that ends with a pastry-making lesson with François Perret at The Ritz.
Also on offer: an Off-White handbag designed by Virgil Abloh, a personalized Louis Vuitton trunk, Champagne from Moët Hennessy and a Louvre fragrance by Dior.
“The art community and those luxury brands with close ties to the Louvre responded instantly to our call for help,” said Jean-Luc Martinez, president and director of the museum.
Artists Johan Creten, Candida Höfer, Eva Jospin, Jean-Michel Othoniel, Pierre Soulages and Xavier Veilhan donated art works that will also feature in the sale.
Proceeds will go to the Louvre’s solidarity projects, which include educational initiatives aimed at promoting Louvre activities to new audiences.