Saks Fifth Avenue’s wealthiest customers will be getting calls from their personal shoppers in the coming weeks—not about the latest Gucci or Balenciaga arrival, but about a strange-looking statue of an astronaut worth $25 million.
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The 4-foot-tall, 80-pound statue, titled “Frozen with Desire,” is dotted with “dreams” and phrases like “love” and “want.” It is also decorated with 6,200 diamonds, mainly consisting of the dazzling visor of the astronauts. Since November 4, it has been on display in a genuine “vault” of fine jewelry at the retailer’s flagship in midtown Manhattan.
CEO Mark Metric told The Post, “We’re trying to move away from being a store to actually buy stuff, emphasizing that Sachs aims to sell the statue before it’s on January 7th.” We want to be at the crossroads of art and fashion.”
The terms of the deal between the artists and Sachs were not disclosed, but Sachs would receive a commission if he sold the piece. And the store’s personal shoppers — called style advisors — have a built-in audience for high-end art: “They know their customers very well,” Metric said. “People gathering art shop in Saks.”
At least, that’s what actors Brendan Murphy and Jonathan Schultz are counting on. Murphy’s “Spacemen” series also included a 22-foot, 3,000-pound sculpture that was commissioned by a hotel in Antigua; Schultz is a South African artist who works in precious metals and diamonds and this year created a 23-carat gold skateboard.
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Potential buyers flew from across the country to New York for the November 4 unveiling, and some members of the Middle East’s royal families are interested, Murphy said, refusing to identify potential buyers. “No work is done until the money comes into the account.”
The individual diamonds in the astronautics – essentially the size of small engagement rings – were sourced in New York and Las Vegas, where Schultz is located. Schultz said diamonds account for the vast majority of the statue’s price, but declined to be more specific, citing a non-disclosure agreement. On selling the idols, payment will be made to the institution providing them.
The artists weren’t initially sure how they would find a buyer for the statue, but after meeting with Metric and Sachs executive chairman Richard Baker in Southampton this summer, they struck a deal. This could potentially be the most expensive single item a US department store has ever sold. (London’s Harrods took the top spot of all department stores when it sold a luxury yacht — Project Mars — for $165 million in 2011.)
“I chose to do this with Saks because it’s a left turn from the typical art world,” Murphy told The Post. “It’s not from Sotheby’s or Christie’s.” A spokesman for the artist said the closure of the top auction houses was a purposeful move.
“There’s a level of rigor and structure that’s part of the business of art that often artists don’t enjoy,” the spokesperson said. “Ultimately, the choice to show with Sachs was intentional and has always been a linear path for artists with the aim being galleries and auction houses.”
Saks hired a separate guard to oversee the siege statue.
“They already have $150 million worth of jewelry in that space, so if you’re going to show a piece like this, Sacks checks all the boxes,” Murphy said, thinking that the worst thing would be it. Maybe “one can jump” poles and take a selfie with the astronaut. ,