After the success of the first edition of the Paris#Marrakech auction which totalled almost 2,3 million euros in December 2016, Artcurial
continues its development in Morocco with this second edition carried out in Paris in duplex with Marrakech on 30th December next. This year, Artcurial invited Cécilia Attias to share her favourites among the 70 works proposed and divided into two chapters: The first dedicated to the fourth edition of « Majorelle et ses contemporains », the second, « African spirit », devoted to African contemporary art.
Artcurial was a pioneer in the organisation of cultural events in Morocco. One can remember notably, the exhibition « Moroccan spirit » in the Villa des Arts in Casablanca in 2014, or the tremendous success of the sale of the Pierre Bergé/Yves Saint Laurent Islamic art collection in the Palace Es Saadi in Marrakech, organised for the benefit of the Fondation Jardin Majorelle in 2015.
«We are pleased to welcome Cecilia Attias for the second edition of Paris#Marrakech auction. Her attachment and her love of Morocco made her an ideal guest to participate in this event. Morocco is in the process of becoming the cultural hub of Africa: The creation of museums, foundations and the emergence of important collectors reveal the potential of the country. The opening of Musée Yves Saint Laurent in Marrakech this autumn, and the dynamic programming of the Musée dart moderne et contemporain Mohammed VI in Rabat, illustrate the vitality of cultural life in Morocco. » --Olivier Berman, associate Orientalism Department director, Artcurial
The Guest: Cécilia Attias
Cécilia Attias has devoted her life to others: as a mother, a wife, a servant of the state, womens rights activist in particular through her foundation, Cécilia Attias Foundation for Women. Living in New York and very attached to Morocco, Cécilia Attias has accepted to become the ambassador of the Paris#Marrakech auction, dedicated to Majorelle and to African contemporary art
Why accept the Artcurial invitation?
First of all, I respect Artcurial which always organises high quality, original, varied sales, which furthermore takes us to foreign lands through their collections. Then, I love Morocco, creativity and African artists
many reasons, enough to have accepted without hesitation...
What do you personally collect?
I do not have the mind of a collector, nevertheless I like to search and find reminders of my past, of my family and its complex and diversified origins and to thus be able to give to my children paintings having belonged to my great- grandfather Isaac Albeniz or books from his collection, his hand-written partitions. And then, it is true that with my husband we have a certain number of works of artists such as Majorelle that we particularly love.
What does the Morocco of Jacques Majorelle represent for you?
The Morocco that we love can be described by its colours, its warmth and its unique gentleness... Majorelle, whom I really like, makes me escape. With a simple glance, I return to this time period, so different and so appeasing. This incomparable and unforgettable Morocco, its gardens, its Kasbah, the village, the splendid ochre landscapes, the authenticity and diversity.
What is it that touches people in contemporary African creations?
Its originality, its difference taken from the human warmth of the continents inhabitants, the incomparable reflection of light in Africa, its population, the difficulties of daily life due to the rigor of its climate, this youth which is so creative, which has such a need to express itself, the women, guardians of the values at the heart of the family, with their courage and their strength. All this makes me love African art
Marrakech, and more widely Africa, seems to be very present in your life. How did such a strong tie form in your life ?
I am very attached to Morocco as it is the country in which my husband was born, we have another way of life... particularly Marrakech where we have a house and where we love to spend time, time for us, with family or with our old friends, moments of serenity and calm like the climate. Africa in general, which I grew to know, is a fascinating and endearing continent. I love its landscapes, its atmosphere and above all its population, its audacity, its values.
One of your favourite addresses Marrakech
There are a lot of hidden places in Marrakech, terraces where the Medina view is magnificent, the merchants of precious fabrics or restaurants where time has stopped ... Of course, the Majorelle gardens are an essential step for me. The Café de la Poste remains a compulsory stop with its mint tea. For lunch, Zinc, where the chef Damien Duran is French and the food is delicious.
Majorelle and its (IV)
Majorelle is at the heart of the news as at the end of this year, the centenary of his arrival in Marrakech is being celebrated with the inaugural exhibition of the new Yves Saint Laurent Museum dedicated to it.
For the fourth sale « Majorelle et ses contemporains », Artcurial will propose 10 works and notably two important paintings by the artist including Le marché aux dattes. This exceptional work dates from the 40/50s during which time he painted mainly on black backgrounds (estimate 200,000 300,000 / $ 220,000 330,000).
Another major work, Les Allamates, Marrakech is the only oil on canvas known to this day representing this traditional festival which takes place during the visit of distinguished hosts. (estimate : 200,000 300,000/ $220,000 330,000).
Etienne Dinet is part of Majorelles contemporaries. He successfully illustrates the everyday life of women with extreme feeling, as shown in his oil on canvas from 1929 Le Khôl, depicting two women in full ritual of traditional makeup (estimate: 280,000 380,000 /$300,000 400,000).
This chapter will also present works from private European collections like Roubtzoff, Cruz Herrera,Corrodi, Fromentin, Ernst, Bridgmann and Styka.
If African art has been highly regarded in Europe in these past months, it has been likewise in Morocco. The important event « LAfrique en Capitale » which is held at the Musée Mohammed VI in Rabat in 2017 celebrated with brio the entry of Morocco into the heart of Africa. Thus, this sale of African art in duplex with Marrakech makes perfect sense. One can find the works of Congolese Chéri Samba which are often painted in a rich, lively, chromatic palette contrasting and often glittered so as to diffuse the subject and allow the viewer a better understanding of the subject. This is the case in Lhomme qui mange de la peinture, an acrylic from 2005, discovered in a collection in Brussels (Estimate: 40,000 50,000 / $45,000 60,000).
Another artist of distinction is the Malian Malick Sidibé and his photos with simple images, full of truth and complicity. A carefree festive life shown in Une vie insouciante et festive illustrated in Nuit de Noël (Happy Club) (estimate 16,000 18,000 /$18,000 20,000). His works are presented in numerous museums and events such as the Contemporary African Art Fair in London, the photo festival in Basel in Switzerland, le Grand Palais or the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris.
The exhibition will also include works of the Senegalese Omar Victor Diop known for his aesthetic pop and modern photographs. The one who once had the habit of capturing the diversity of societies and ways of life of modern Africa in his work, debuts his self-portrait in his last series Diaspora as is portrayed in Omar Ibn Said (Estimated : 5,000 7,000/ $6,800 9,000).