Buyers Say 'Je t’aime' to Serge Gainsbourg Memorabilia
The singer-songwriter’s lyrics and photos surpassed estimates at Sotheby’s auction in Paris.
PARIS - Legendary French singer-songwriter Serge Gainsbourg's musical lyrics and other memorabilia sold to a melodious tune in Paris on Wednesday for a total of €266,000 ($360,000), far above previous records for sales of his possessions.
While Gainsbourg's break-up with actress Jane Birkin was a famously painful moment in his life, a manuscript of the song he wrote for her titled "Sorry, Angel" sold for €51,150 and was the best-selling item at the auction hosted by Sotheby's.
Other hot sellers included manuscripts of "Love on the beat" for €39,150 and "You're under arrest" for €21,150, plus a 500 franc note, torn and signed by Gainsbourg for €24,750.
While the hefty sum may seem high for a ripped up Franc note, the televised image of Gainsbourg setting fire to it in protest in 1984 became part of Gallic history.
The auctioned items belonged to the singer's butler Fulbert Ribeaut. Other popular items included portraits of the star by Nigel Parry, notes written by the singer and Gainsbourg’s soldier jacket worn in his music videos. Gainsbourg's legacy continues to occupy French minds, radios and even movie theaters. A biopic about the singer's life Gainsbourg: A Heroic Lifewas released last year and saw its star Eric Elmoslino take the Best Actor prize at the Cesar awards for his title role.
Gainsbourg was infamous for his controversial lyrics and life and is still a household name in his native France today. Gainsbourg's voice is also recognizable overseas after the singer grew to fame with his single "Je t'aime...moi non plus" that he sang with Birkin.
Gainsbourg died of a heart attack in 1991 at age 62.