On 19th June, Artcurial
s Inventories & Collections Department will auction off the personal collection of André Malraux, consisting of over one hundred lots. Delving into the eclectic universe of this cultural and political figure from the twentieth century, the auction takes you on a voyage of discovery into the intimate museum of André Malraux.
Among the unique objects that he surrounded himself with in the intimacy of his last home of Verrières-le-Buisson, we must pause on the desk with which he wrote his final books, the works of major artists with whom he became friends in the course of his life such as Georges Braque, Joan Miró and Emile Gilioli. One also discovers his pronounced taste for art from around the world through some objects of primitive, pre-Columbian and Asian art, through to a beautiful set of Haitian paintings. André Malraux caricatures representing Pablo Picasso also reveal his own talents as an artist.
A major figure of his time whose influence is still felt today, André Malraux (1901 - 1976) was in turn a writer, resistance member, art theorist and French politician. As early as 1930, the publication of his book La Condition Humaine, an adventure novel inspired by his trip to Indochina was met with resounding success, winning the Prix Goncourt. Appointed by the General de Gaulle, he created the Ministry of Culture in 1959 and occupied the position of Minister of State in charge of Cultural affairs for a decade, an event which marks a whole era and of which we celebrate the 60th anniversary of this year.
« We are delighted to pay tribute to the work and commitments of André Malraux, while celebrating the 60th anniversary of what will remain his most iconic contribution to France: the Ministry of Culture. Throughout his life, he will have been guided by his curiosity and passion for the arts, the common thread of his existence. The art offered at auction are undoubtedly his most personal and intimate belongings. » --Stéphane Aubert, Associate Director Inventories & collections, Artcurial
André Malraux, friend of the arts and of artists
Throughout his life, André Malraux passionately promoted the arts and artists. Following an introduction by Max Jacob to the review Action, created in February 1920, he meets the great artists of the time such as Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Emile Gilioli and Georges Braque. Artcurial will also present several works from these famous painters and sculptors, some of which were part of the exhibition at the Museum of Arts Idemitsu, « André Malraux: our friend » from October to December 1998 in Tokyo.
The work of Georges Braque, with whom André Malraux entertained a deep friendship, will be represented in particular by a very beautiful oil on paper, Ciel et Oiseaux, estimate 20,000 - 30,000, as well as a colour lithograph, entitled Oiseaux dans le feuillage, created in 1961 (estimate: 10,000 - 15,000 ). The auction will also offer two pieces signed and dedicated by their creator, a pastel and marker pen on paper from Joan Miró « Pour André Malraux, avec la vieille amitié Miró,» (estimate: 3,000 - 4,000) and a Zao Wou-ki lithographe dedicated to André Malraux in testimony of his « admiration profonde et amitiés fidéles «, (estimate: 4,000 - 6,000).
Throughout his years at the Ministry of Culture, André Malraux worked towards promoting French art throughout the world. He had the firm desire to democratize art and to conduct emblematic projects. Alongside his artist friends, he never ceased to question the language of art, playing a decisive role in public commission development. Demonstrating his ideals and commitment, in 1973 André Malraux commissions Emile Gilioli to create a national monument on the Plateau des Glières in Haute-Savoie, a symbolic place ofthe Resistance. Artcurial will offer at auction the polished bronze mock-up of this monument, Montagne et soleil, created by the French abstract sculptor (Estimate 4,000 - 6,000).
André Malraux, an artist himself
The auction will also introduce a lesser-known and more intimate aspectof André Malrauxs personality: the artist. From his early childhood, he was impassioned by drawing and felines which he incorporates into his signature and regularly gave his relatives illustrations that he calls « dyables ».
The pieces included in the collection shed a new light on Malraux the portraitist with this rare Ensemble de trois caricatures de Pablo Picasso (estimate: 3,000 - 4,000). This includes an ink on paper drawn by André Malraux from the same period during which he wrote the La tête dObsidienne, a tribute to the painter Pablo Picasso, published in 1974.
The furniture pieces up for auction include his desk from Verrieres- the-Buisson, his final home, on which he wrote his last books and which constitutes a moving testimony of the last creative hours of this visionary author whose thinking has marked the 20th and still radiates to this day estimate: 4,000 - 6,000).
A set of art objects brought back from numerous voyages, a reflection of André Malrauxs intimate collection
« All Artist has in his head an imaginary museum ». With these few words uttered during the « André Malraux » exhibition held at the Maeght Foundation in 1973, he demonstrated to what point a museum falls within the personal dimension conducive to every man building themselves on « a series of serendipitous moments » and « works of art that seem to choose us ».
Representing his intimate museum and for the last time united, these objects will be presented during this unique auction.
A Turquoise and leather headdress from Tibet, late 19th-early 20th century, carrying an estimate between 2,000 and 2,500, was given prime position it on his desk at Verrières-leBuisson, as if to accompany him with his last writings, among which is La Tête dObsidienne. Several primitive art objects such as a masque Cracheur de Feu from the Senoufo peoples in Mali (estimate: 4,000 - 6,000), a Figure de reliquaire, Kota, Gabon (estimate: 6,000 - 8,000) and as a very fine Masque from Papua New Guinea, estimate between 8,000 and 10,000.
During his last trip to Haiti in December 1975, André Malraux meets the Saint Soleil painters community who place the voodoo cult at the center of their inspiration. Delighted by the riveting paintings, he completes his collection with a magnificent set of Haitian paintings including Adam et Eve chassés du paradis, painting signed by Franklin Latortue in 1975 (estimate: 6,000 - 8,000), and Loas, work from circa 1975 by Robert Saint Brice, emblematic figure of the Haitian painting (estimate: 3,000 - 4,000) and Brijite Lacroix, a large canvas dated circa 1970 and signed André Pierre, Haitian surreal artist (estimate: 3,000 - 4,000).