Carved leopards headline Schiaparelli collection with 25,596% increase

A pair of Italian carved leopards headlined the sale of the collection of Italian fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli at Christie's Paris on January 23.

They realised $523,428 against a mere $2,037 estimate - a stunning increase of 25,596%.

The pieces are a copy of Francesco Antonio Franzoni's (1734-1818) iconic leopards interred within the Hall of Animals, a display of stone fauna installed in the Vatican by Pope Pius VI (1775-1799).

Italian leopards Schiaparelli Christies
The carved leopards made $523,428 at the Schiaparelli collection sale

The pre-auction literature suggested these examples were made within the 20th century, although the enormous increase on their estimate suggests that they may have been produced earlier.

Two very similar examples, attributed to Franzoni, are in the collection of the Museum of Arts in Honolulu.

Figure Version Etroite, a lamp by Alberto Giacometti, was another major lot at the auction.

The elegant piece was designed for Jean Michael Frank, an interior designer based in Paris, and cast between 1935 and 1937.

It also achieved a significant increase on estimate, realising $230,146 against $108,623 - up 111.8%.

Giacometti's work has proven enormously popular among collectors in recent years.

In 2013, his sculpture Grand Tete de Diego made $50m at Sotheby's New York, while his Diego en Chemise raised the record for his painting by 123% when it sold for $32.6m at Christie's New York.

His Trois Hommes Qui Marchent I is up for auction at Christie's London on February 4 with an estimate of £8m ($13m).

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