Versace Goes Under the Hammer | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 13.03.2009
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Versace Goes Under the Hammer

Just one month after the record-breaking auction of the belongings of Yves Saint Laurent, Sotheby's is selling the contents of the late Italian designer Gianni Versace's villa by Lake Como.

A woman gazes up at a statue that makes up the collection of Versace items to be auctioned off by Sotheby's

550 items, worth up to 3.3 million euros, will be auctioned off

Auction-goers with a love for all things celebrity will have a chance to take home a piece of the late Italian designer Gianni Versace when the contents of his weekend villa by Lake Como go under the hammer this week at Sotheby's.

Paintings in the Gianni Versace auction

The paintings on offer pale in comparison to those sold at the Yves Saint Laurent auction

There are 550 items on offer from the spectacular neo-classical Villa Fontanelle, ranging from statues to paintings to silver, worth an estimated two to three million pounds (2.2 to 3.3 million euros).

There really is something for everyone and every pocketbook, which is evident from looking at the catalogue on Sotheby's Web site. On the low end is a single small velveteen Versace cushion with an estimated value of 80 to 100 British pounds.

For those with a larger budget, a pair of Italian cherry wood breakfront book cases by Karl Roos, based on an 1814 design by Giuseppe Valadier, is the lot with the highest single estimate of 120,000 pounds.

Long lost artwork

Johann Zoffany's painting 'Portrait of Major George Maule'

Johann Zoffany's long lost painting will be auctioned off

Another highlight is a recently discovered painting by 18th century German artist Johann Zoffany called "Portrait of Major George Maule". It's the only known portrait from a group of four paintings executed by the artist during a brief stay in Madras in 1783 and is expected to sell for 40-60,000 pounds.

However, this painting, and the others in the Versace collection, pale in comparison to the items sold at the Yves Saint Laurent auction held at Christie's auction house in Paris last month.

Works by Matisse, Mondrian and Brancusi were the centerpiece of the Saint Laurent sale, which brought in $475 million (369 million euros).

Celebrity playground

Italian designer Gianni Versace

Versace was murdered outside his Miami home in 1997

Versace, who was gunned down outside his home in Miami in 1997, used to entertain some of the world's most influential celebrities at Villa Fontanelle, including Princess Diana, Elton John, and Madonna.

Versace owned several homes around the world in places like Milan and New York, but used the villa on Lake Como to relax.

Another guest of Versace was Mario Tavella, deputy chairman of Sotheby's Europe, who has attempted to recreate part of the interior of the home as a way to show off the pieces.

"I have been trying to recreate as much as I could," Tavella told dpa news agency. "The bedroom of Gianni is almost as it was in the villa and the two dining rooms are recreated almost precisely.

Sotheby's will continue to exhibiting the Versace items on offer at its central London galleries on March 15-17 ahead of the auction on March 18.

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