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    Yves Saint Laurent Hits Auction Block

    All hail art! The much-buzzed about auction of the private art collection of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge began today at the Grand Palais in Paris. The three-day event began with a record crowd of 30,000 with Christie’s auction executive Alexandra Buxton calling the public’s response to the Impressionist and modern artworks “overwhelming,” with a four-hour line snaking around the Grand Palais almost to the Champs-Elysées. Records were broken for art from Piet Mondrian, Marcel Duchamp, and Constantin Brancusi, although a Cubist Picasso painting stalled (asking price? 31 million). Private showings have taken place at Saint Laurent’s rue de Babylone apartment, and just today a Paris court ruled the estate could sell two Qing Dynasty bronze statues (of a rabbit and rat heads) after a hubbub with the Chinese government threatened to halt the auction. On the first night, the auction netted $264 million.