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Magazine    April 2001

Empire-Style stools and Versace's bedroom, right;
Italian Neoclassical chairs and a Directoire writing table, below
The undeniably rich contents of Gianni Versace’s Miami house, Casa Casuarinas, were auctioned off by Sotheby’s in New York earlier this month, bringing a total of more than $10 million. Versace's antique collection of antique furniture, fine art and fashions was defined by the finest quality.

While many pieces of furniture and objects might be considered opulent and extravagant—he designed his master bedroom (above right) around an Empire ormolu-mounted mahogany lit d'alcove and an oil on canvas entitled The Death of Cenchirias, Son of Neptune by Sophie Rude Eremite—Versace also had a gout for the simple, such as a Directoire ormolu-mounted mahogany writing table with a leather top (below right), which sold for $81,250, below its estimate of $100,000 to $150,000. The painting, on the other hand, set a record for the artist when active bidding drove its final price to $181,750.

Versace created different themes (Moorish, Egyptian and Pompeian) in the rooms of his massive house, located on the famous South Beach, and he upholstered his collection of Continental furniture with his own riotous fabric designs. For a suite of six Italian Neoclassical parcel-gilt chairs with dolphin-shaped arm supports (below left), Versace chose his Chinese Gardener and Chinese Flora patterns. The set of chairs and a settee brought a final selling price of $64,000.

The whimsy in Versace's taste is evident in such pieces as a pair of Empire stools (above left), identical to a set from interior designer Alberto Pinto’s collection auctioned off in 1999, that are in the form of crossed sheathed swords and are derived from examples in gilt wood made by François-Honore Georges and Georges Jacob in the early 1800s. Those were auctioned off for $38,125.

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Sothebys’ auction of the Gianni Versace collection, April 5, 6, and 7
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