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Sotheby's Paris to offer the Marsel & Zaira Mis Collection of Modern & Contemporary Art
Ren Magritte, La Grande Table. Huile sur toile, 54,3x65,4 cm. Peint vers 1962-63. Estimate: 3-5 M€. Photo: Sotheby’s/ArtDigital Studio.

PARIS.- The sale of the Zaira & Marsel Mis Collection on 24 October 2012 will be one of the top auction events in Paris this Autumn. The collection was formed by Zaira and Marsel Mis over nearly half a century, and includes works from Egon Schiele to Andy Warhol via Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee, Alexander Calder, Lucio Fontana, Robert Rauschenberg, Alighiero Boetti, and features above all an extraordinary ensemble of works by Ren Magritte.

Zaira and Marsel came to collecting from very different backgrounds–Zaira from a family with a tradition as modern art collectors, Marsel with a curiosity stimulated by his profession as a textiles engineer–and they acquired works throughout their lives through a variety of encounters and opportunities.

The Mis Collection makes no claim to chart the history of 20th century art, or concentrate on any specific period or movement. But it is an ensemble with a strong, courageous visual personality, comprising a sweeping variety of works that unblushingly mingles superstars of 20th century art with less famous artists who, through their painterly or sculptural research, helped construct or deconstruct the artistic panorama of the last century.

Zaira Mis moved to Brussels from her native Italy in the late 1950s to work in Design, as Belgian representative for one of the leading makers of contemporary Italian furniture. This helped her enter the milieu of decoration, architecture and art, with her talent, network and indefatigable passion for contemporary creativity soon making her the leading ambassador for Italy’s effervescent 1960s/70s creative scene. She collected the most emblematic artists (Fontana, Burri, Manzoni, Adami, Penone and Boetti, among others) and opened an art gallery, promoting the artists of the Transavanguardia and staging a number of pioneering projects, including the first exhibitions of Giulio Paolini, Mario Merz and Gilberto Zorio on Belgian soil.

While promoting contemporary Italian art throughout her career, Zaira Mis also assembled a private collection of international scope. Its Italian highlights include Concetto Spaziale, New York 8, a rare work by Lucio Fontana from his 1962 Metalli series (est. € 600,000-800,000/ $752,000-1,000,000)* that was shown at the Fontana retrospective at the Pompidou Centre in 1987; and one of Alighiero Boetti’s earliest tapestries, Alternando da uno a centoe viceversa from 1977 (est. €180,000-250,000/ $225,000-313,000). But the collection also features a large Calder Mobile from 1961 (est. €1,000,000-1,500,000/ 1,254,000-1,880,000), formerly owned by Galerie Maeght; and Andy Warhol’s iconic Four Multicolored Marilyns (est. €1,500,000-2,000,000/ $1,880,000-2,500,000).

The superb Ren Magritte ensemble is dominated by his extraordinary La Grande Table, painted around 1962/3 (est. €3,000,000-5,000,000 / $3,760,000-6,270,000). This mature work by Belgium’s master Surrealist offers a marvellous variation on the Apple, one of his favourite subjects, and is unquestionably the most important painting by Ren Magritte to be sold in Paris for at least two decades. Then comes La Parure de l’Orage (1928), a large nocturnal composition from Magritte’s early period (est. €1,200,000-1,800,000/1,505,000-2,258,000).

* estimates do not include buyer’s premium

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