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拿出1,160万美元,这张历史悠久的名贵桌子就是你的

彭博社 2018年07月05日

这张桌子稀有、美丽,不仅桌面宽阔,还有重大历史意义。

1568年,托斯卡纳大公国(Grand Dukedom of Tuscany)的继承人弗朗切斯科一世·德·美第奇委托艺术家、建筑师和作家乔尔乔·瓦萨里设计了一张桌子。

当时,瓦萨里是佛罗伦萨最负盛名的艺术家。美第奇家族已经与他进行了多次合作,包括绘制维琪奥王宫(Palazzo Vecchio)的壁画和设计乌菲齐(Uffizi)的第一批建筑。

这张桌子采用了名为“pietre dure”(硬石)的镶嵌技术,由数百块切成薄片的碧玉、天青石等贵重石料构成,并以一块白色大理石作为基座。

打造这张桌子花费了超过10年时间,耗费了惊人的成本。伦敦艺术商本尼迪克特·汤姆林森表示:“作为对比,当时最伟大的大师提香的画作都比它便宜多了。”

这张桌子售价1,160万美元——腿部可选

——彭博社

它的价值如今仍旧高昂。汤姆林森是Robilant and Voena的主管,这家艺术馆在6月28日至7月4日的Masterpiece London艺术展上展示了其桌面。他表示这张桌子要价“大约1,000万欧元”(约1,160万美元)。目前,桌面放置在一个新得多的展台上。

一张桌子为什么会这么贵?

汤姆林森解释道:“这个价格分为两个部分,首先,你知道它的历史。”

汤姆林森指的是这张桌子几乎一直为皇室所有。

由于欧洲君主一直(最终不再)倾向于与堂表亲结婚,因此这张桌子在超过一个世纪的时间里都留在美第奇家族直系成员的宫殿中,起初是佛罗伦萨的Casino di San Marco宫殿,之后又被送到皮蒂宫(Pitti Palace)。

在美第奇家族解体后(最后的本位继承人安娜·玛利亚·路易萨·德·美第奇逝于1743年),托斯卡纳大公的位置授予了奥地利女大公玛利亚·特蕾莎的丈夫、神圣罗马帝国皇帝弗兰茨一世。他的家族把这张桌子传了三代。到1800年,桌子被送至附近的维琪奥王宫(考虑到桌面的重量就超过半吨,这可不是件轻松的活)。在此之后,桌子继续通过继承的方式,在波旁-帕尔马家族流传下去。

最后,桌子又被搬回皮蒂宫。拿破仑·波拿巴任命妹妹埃莉萨为托斯卡纳女大公后,她因此短暂拥有了这张桌子(拿破仑失势后,她也被迫退位),但之后它又落入哈布斯堡-洛林家族手中长达40年,然后被交给佛罗伦萨的Opificio delle Pietre Dure,这是宫廷的官方硬石工作室。

1870年,意大利把它卖给了一位名为威廉·斯彭斯的英国艺术商,后者将其转售给了休·卢普斯·格罗夫纳,他将成为第一代威斯敏斯特公爵。这张桌子就此从意大利来到了该家族在伦敦上流住宅区的大型联排房屋Grosvenor House,在这里待了70年。1953年,该家族将桌子拍卖,被一位非皇室的私人买主拍下。

汤姆林森表示:“买下它,你就拥有了这400年来的非凡经历,这很难得。再加上它出自瓦萨里之手,这太不寻常了。”

这张桌子的价值不仅在于其拥有者。它本身就价值连城。桌面超过5英尺长,3.5英尺宽,覆盖着大块的玛瑙、碧玉、天青石和其他石头。汤姆林森表示:“透明度更高的石头下面还有银箔相衬,显得熠熠生辉。一位专家曾经来到这里告诉我:‘你的打光方式完全错了,应该将其置于烛光之下。’”

当桌子不再是桌子

所以,这张桌子稀有、美丽,不仅桌面宽阔,还有重大历史意义。不过汤姆林森也欣然承认:就一件家具而言,1,160万美元依旧是天价。

他表示:“问题在于,对于一件设计品或一张桌子而言,这似乎是相当大的一笔钱。”

不过汤姆林森继续道,如果你将它看作艺术品而非装饰,这个价格似乎忽然就变得没那么吓人了。

他表示:“对于艺术品而言,它显得相对便宜,虽然说起来很荒谬:这仍然是一大笔钱,然而,由于艺术市场处于历史上的特殊时期,价格没有封顶,因此相对而言,它值得这个价。”

汤姆林森建议买家将这张拥有400年历史的桌子与当代艺术家克里斯多夫·伍尔的画作进行比较,后者最贵的一幅画“word paintings”在拍卖中卖出了超过2,000万美元的价格。他表示:“这桌子实际上是一件美丽的物品,你不只是买了个概念。”

艺术馆会在一个“有角度的底座上”展示这一桌面。汤姆林森表示:“这样你就可以看看它,看看环绕桌子的那圈镶边。”

汤姆林森表示,一些博物馆已经表达了兴趣,不过这张桌子对任何财力雄厚、欣赏美丽事物的人都具有吸引力。

汤姆林森补充道,桌子也很耐用。他说:“你可以放心地把东西放在上面,因为它很坚硬。你没法在桌面留下刻痕,你可以在上面放个半身像之类。”

“我认为看到桌子,你很难不让它发挥一些功能性的用途。”(财富中文网)

译者:严匡正

In 1568, Francesco I de’ Medici, heir to the Grand Dukedom of Tuscany, commissioned a table designed by the artist, architect, and writer, Giorgio Vasari.

At the time, Vasari was one of the most famous artists in Florence. The Medici family had already enlisted him for projects ranging from murals in the Palazzo Vecchio to the design of the first buildings of the Uffizi.

The table was to be made with an inlay technique called pietre dure (“hard stone”), comprised of a design made from hundreds of thinly sliced, immensely valuable stones such as jasper and lapis lazuli, set on top of a piece of white marble.

It took more than 10 years to build, and cost a spectacular sum. “Putting it in terms of its comparative wealth, you could buy a painting by Titian— the greatest master of his day— for much, much less,” says Benedict Tomlinson, a London art dealer. “At its time, it was a vastly expensive work.”

There’s a table on sale for $11.6 million—legs optional

——Bloomberg

It still is. Tomlinson is a director of Robilant and Voena, a gallery that exhibited the tabletop at the Masterpiece London art fair, which run from June 28 to July 4. The table carries an asking price “in the region of €10 million” (about $11.6 million), he says. Currently, the table sits on a much newer base.

How Can a Table Cost So Much?

“There’s two parts to the price,” Tomlinson explains. “First, you’ve got its history.”

By that, Tomlinson is referring to the table’s nearly unbroken stretch of royal ownership.

Thanks to European monarchs’ enduring (and ultimately devastating) tendency to marry their cousins, the table managed to stayed in the immediate Medici family for more than a century, first in the Florentine palace Casino di San Marco, then in the Pitti Palace.

After the Medicis died out (Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici, who died in 1743, was the last direct heir), the duchy of Tuscany was given to Holy Roman Emperor Francis I, husband of the Austrian Empress, Maria Theresa. His family then passed the table through inheritance for three further generations; by 1800, it had been moved it to the nearby Palazzo Vecchio. (No small feat, given that the tabletop alone weighs more than half a ton.) After that, it passed, also through inheritance, into the house of Bourbon-Parma.

The table was eventually moved back to the Pitti Palace and—after a brief stint in the hands of Napoleon Bonaparte’s sister, Elisa, whom he’d appointed Grand Duchess of Tuscany (she was forced to abdicate when Napoleon fell from power)—the table returned to the house of Habsburg-Lorraine, where it stayed for 40 years, until it was transferred to Florence’s Opificio delle Pietre Dure, the court’s official pietre dure workshop.

It was subsequently sold in 1870 by the Italian state to a British art dealer named William Spence, who turned around and sold it to Hugh Lupus Grosvenor, who would become first Duke of Westminster. The table was duly shipped from Italy to Grosvenor House, the family’s massive townhouse in London’s Mayfair, and stayed there for 70 years. In 1953, the family put the table up for auction, at which it passed into private, non-royal hands.

“You’ve got these 400 years of extraordinary provenance, which is very hard to find,” says Tomlinson. “And then you combine that with Vasari, and it’s just extraordinary.”

It’s not just about who owned the table, though. There’s the object itself. It’s more than five feet long and three and a half feet wide, and covered in giant pieces of agate, jasper, lapis lazuli, and other stones. “The more translucent stones have silver leaf underneath, so they shine,” Tomlinson says. “I had an expert come in here and tell me, ‘You’re lighting it all wrong, you should be lighting it by candlelight.’”

When a Table Is Not a Table

So the table is rare, beautiful, large, and historically important, but Tomlinson readily acknowledges that $11.6 million is still a tremendous amount of money to spend on a piece of furniture.

“The point is that it seems like an extraordinary amount of money for a design object or table,” he says.

But, Tomlinson continues, if you begin to think about it as a work of art, rather than a piece of decorative art, the price tag suddenly becomes less intimidating.

“For a work of art, it’s comparatively inexpensive,” he says, “which is a ridiculous thing to say: It’s still an extraordinary amount of money, but—because the art market has reached a strange moment in history where there’s no limit to prices—comparatively speaking, it’s good value.”

Tomlinson suggests that buyers compare the 400-year-old table to the price of a painting by Christopher Wool, a contemporary artist whose most expensive “word paintings” have sold for more than $20 million at auction. “It’s actually a beautiful thing,” he says. “You’re not just buying a concept.”

The gallery will exhibit the tabletop at Masterpiece “on an angled plinth,” he says, “so you can look at it and see the lip that goes around the edge.”

Tomlinson says that there’s already been some interest from museums, but the table could appeal to anyone with means and an eye for fine things.

It’s also, he adds, very durable. “You could quite safely put something on top of it, because it’s quite hard. You can’t make a dent in it, so you could put a bust on it or something,” he says.

“I suppose when you look at a table, it’s hard for it not to take on a functional use.”

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