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Eclectic Items from Nan Goldin’s Collection Score at Christie’s Paris

On April 7, Christie’s Paris auctioned a number of eccentric artifacts from the cabinet of curiosities of photographer Nan Goldin in its sale of decorative objects from the 16th through the 19th centuries and natural history.

PARIS—On April 7, Christie’s Paris auctioned a number of eccentric artifacts from the cabinet of curiosities of photographer Nan Goldin in its sale of decorative objects from the 16th through the 19th centuries and natural history. Goldin consigned 32 items from her private collection, including religious art, reliquaries, 19th-century sculpted ivories, and Dutch furniture; these were shown alongside more unusual offerings, such as mounted insects and taxidermy. In total, Goldin’s collection took in €52,423 ($70,770).

Two stuffed and mounted conjoined lambs in a glass vitrine (estimate: €4,000/6,000), for example, sold for €5,000 ($6,703), bringing the highest price of the objects from her collection. A pair of stuffed pigeons mounted in a natural setting in a display case sold for €125 ($168), and a framed collection of seven butterflies and six beetles sold for €225 ($302). Goldin’s photograph of stuffed birds, Shadows of My Birds, 2009, a unique Cibachrome print measuring 19 by 39 inches, sold for €3,750 ($5,027) on an estimate of €3,000/5,000.

The most talked-about lot in the sale—a black-lacquered wood dildo believed to be probably Asian—more than doubled its estimate of €200/300, to bring in €750 ($1,005). Other objets also did quite well, including a 19th-century miniature carved-bone altar from Spain or Italy, which also surpassed its estimate of €300/500 to sell for €875 ($1,173). A silver- and metal-mounted bamboo-root pipe, thought to be Indonesian, sold for €750 ($1,005), well above its estimate of €300/500.

Other of Goldin’s eclectic 19th-century objects included an embroidered depiction of a woman, which sold for €75 ($101); a reverse-painted glass and feather medallion, which sold for €625 ($838), three times its €150/200 estimate; and two Spanish reliquaries, which sold for €1,875 ($2,514) on an estimate of €1,000/1,500. Furniture offerings included a bent-steel, oak and faux leather lecture bench, circa 1955, by Jean Prouvé, which sold for €1,750 ($2,346) on an estimate of €2,000/3,000, and a mid-19th-century Dutch writing table of walnut with fruitwood marquetry, which sold for €2,250 ($3,016), double its €600/1,000 estimate.

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