With the festive season around the corner, the world’s glitterati start hunting for the perfect gift for their loved ones. We peeked inside the auction houses and took a few lavish Rolls-Royces for a spin to compile the ultimate shopping list to suit every art lover.
For the Art advisor
Barbara Kruger, Untitled – Our prices are insane, 1987 $571,500 (£450,000).
Emblematic of the artist’s signature, Barbara Kruger’s Untitled – Our prices are insane, uses strong, graphic images and bold text highlighted in red to question our belief system. This image has been plucked from a 1940s horror film, and superimposed with a bold message. Executed in 1980, the work borrows from the advertising industry – Kruger worked as a graphic designer for Condé Nast Publications – to turn the marketing trick on its head. As the 1980s drew to a close, the economic boom and their capitalists followers converted works of art into a major asset class… Barbara Kruger denounces a system she became fully part of. The work sold for $571,500 at Philipps auction in New York on November 14, 2023.
Instead of being told what not to do, why not invest in something nice that shows what could be done? Conscious of our evolving needs, Rolls-Royce just added an electric car to its roster. Named Spectre, the Modernist model comes in gold-like hues – pronounced “chartreuse”, to evoke the French herbal liqueur. Charles Stewart Rolls had predicted in 1900 that “the electric car is perfectly noiseless and clean […] They should become very useful when fixed charging stations can be arranged”. Over a 100 years later… and voilà ! Spectre is the first fully-electric Rolls-Royce ever made, and the brand promises that “by the end of 2030, its entire product portfolio will be fully electric”. The ultra luxury coach boasts the same attention to details inside the car as under the hood, which comes with extruded aluminum sections and a design adapted to fit the battery into the structure. The car achieves 0-60mph in 4.4 seconds, has a range of 329 miles to play with, and charges in 34 minutes from 10-80%. The net starting price is 327.500 Euros, plus taxes (£280.91 Pound)
For the VIP cardholder who pays for the work
George Condo, A Life of Beauty: The Collection of John Cheim. 1996. $1.2 million.
Either revered or deeply mocked, George Condo’s pieces are an acquired taste. In his long search for “Artificial realism” he offers a fictional character representing our contemporary days. The Existential Traveler looks straight at us, posing in a bare environment softened by blue hues. With her short, slicked-back hair tucked behind her ears and her preppy look, the female at the center of the composition looks like she is waiting for our cue to start a conversation. She is a gallery director and we, the seasoned collector, just pushed the door of her refined white-cube space. Or maybe, she is the well-traveled collector and she is getting snapped after making a major purchase? While her body language exudes calm and composure, her face is distorted, eyes wide open. She looks startled. By us? Condo’s characters always stand between the grotesque and the uncanny, and it is up to the viewer to figure out why. Either way, we can’t help but feel empathy for this mildly-deformed artificial conscience, filled with made-up angst and quiet suffering. The work belonged to art dealer John Cheim, and was sold at Sotheby’s New York October 27, 2023, for $1.2 million.
For that price, you could opt for a Rolls-Royce Ghost. Customize yours in Saragano Green & Arctic White and a discrete single coachline in Forge Yellow. Inside, the seats come with an embedded massage programme and heated headrests. Proof that the owner of these fine pieces of craftsmanship often sit away from the wheel, you modify your chauffeur’s itinerary by rerouting the satnav from the back seats. And don’t bother opening the door or lowering the tablet on your own: everything is accessible at the touch of a button. From here, you also can adjust the sound system of your favorite tunes or catch a movie.In between the seats, the armrest hides a cooler fridge, complete with champagne glasses. Look up, the shooting star headliner can be customized so it shows the positions of the stars of your chosen day: the birth of a child, a wedding celebration, the passing of your dog. Anything goes. Obviously, everything can be bespoke with a choice of colours and ultra-luxury materials. Going for a long journey with an off-road pit stop? The trunk can turn into a mini-picnic table. And yes, don’t forget to customize that famous Rolls-Royce umbrella to match your car’s specs, indicating you are ready to seize the day.
For the Eponymous Museum owner
Frida Kahlo, Diego y yo, $34.9 Million (£27.4 Million)
Let’s say you have 35 million (USD, but who’s counting) to spare. You could own Frida Kahlo’s Diego y yo, which fetched $34.9 Million at Sotheby’s in November 2021. The work, dated 1949, became the most expensive artwork by a Latin American artist. The self-portrait was completed five years before Kahlo’s death and includes a depiction of Kahlo’s husband, famed muralist Diego Rivera. Placed in the middle of her forehead like a Bindi, the depiction of Rivera is also graced with a third eye. Despite the fact that Kahlo painted herself a lot throughout her short but intense career, the work exudes an up-close sadness that makes it quite unique. The piece belongs to Eduardo F. Costantini, the founder of a private foundation in Buenos Aires. It is an interesting work, but a far cry from the most expensive pieces money can buy. Count $198 Million for The Standard Bearer by Rembrandt, privately sold in February 2022, and a whopping $537.6 Million for a -rather bland – Salvator Mundi, supposedly painted by Leonardo da Vinci and sold through Christies in 2017. Assets on the contemporary art podium come slightly cheaper, with a $91 Million price tag for Jeff Koons’s 1986 sculpture, Rabbit.
La Rose Noire
With $30-35 million, you can also get your hands on the most expensive car ever made. This masterpiece of craftsmanship has been revealed as La Rose Noire Droptail. It takes its name after the deep color of the Black Baccara Rose, a Hybrid Tea Rose variety that produces dark red petals. Released in summer 2023, the two-seater is a one-of-a-kind coachbuild, designed like a true artwork on wheels. Inside, the delicate work of parquetry boasts 1,603 veneer pieces representing stylised rose petals which have been intricately placed. The design took an astonishing two years to complete. The convertible comes with a champagne board – a hint at the owners, an international couple with ties to France, the luxury drink and great lovers of art and fashion.
On the dashboard, the timepiece by Audemars Piguet can be removed thanks to a clasp mechanism, allowing it to be worn on the wrist. Red is not your color? Rolls-Royce announced they would be making four of these unique cars, all designed in partnership with the future owners. Get your Pantone out.
BUY your Rolls-Royce HERE (London)