The sale of the Zaira & Marsel Mis Collection at Sothebys
France attracted a packed saleroom, with 30 phone lines a-crackle with bids from around the world. Oliver Barker, Deputy Chairman of Sothebys Europe and the renowned director of Sothebys contemporary art sales in London, was wielding the gavel in Paris for the first time.
Thomas Bompard, Head of the Impressionist & Modern Art Department at Sothebys France, declared afterwards that We are naturally delighted that Zaira and Marsel Mis were so handsomely rewarded for assembling such a strong and bold collection and for their confidence in the ability of Sothebys France to make this sale the biggest event of the Paris Autumn season. We are also indebted to Stefano Moreni and Monique Brehier for bringing to Paris a sale that will long remain in peoples hearts and memories.
To Stefano Moreni, Head of Contemporary Art at Sothebys France, A collection of Belgian provenance sold by a British auctioneer in a Paris saleroom with buyers from around the globe: this sale summed up what Sothebys France is all about!
The sale got off to an explosive start with a series of works from key periods of the career of the great Belgian Surrealist René Magritte. Leading the way was his extraordinary La Grande Table (c.1962/3), a mature work that offers a marvellous variation on one of his favourite themes the apple. At 5,104,750 ($6.595.490), the painting set a new record price for René Magritte in France (lot 7).
La Parure de lOrage (1927), to be shown in the exhibition Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary 1926-1938 at the New York MoMA next year (and at The Art Institute of Chicago in 2014), soared to 1,464,750 ($1,892,501) (lot 9, est. 1-1.5m*).
Andy Warhols Four Multicoloured Marilyns (Reversal Series), revisiting his iconic Marilyn portrait in the late 1970s, posted the evenings second-highest price of 3,200,750 ($4,135,465) (lot 23, est. 1.5-2m). The work saw Warhol underline his tremendous creativity by confronting his artistic past emerging as a pioneer of Post-Modernism, and paving the way for Jeff Koons.
A 1961 Calder Mobile flew to 3,032,750 ($3,918,404), ranking third in the sales Top Ten. Connoisseurs were attracted by its pure, free-flowing yet tightly defined outlines, and propelled this unique work well past its 1.5m top-estimate of (lot 25).
Zaira Mis promoted Italian contemporary art throughout her career, assembling a richly varied private collection. The market proved the wisdom of her approach by sending a spate of works by Lucio Fontana and Alighiero Boetti past estimate, led by Fontanas 1962 Concetto Spaziale New York 8, from his Metalli series, that sold for 1,083,950 ($1,400,496) (lot 27, est. 600,000-800,000), followed by a small format Concetto Spaziale Attesa (1959) that claimed 372,750 ($481.600) against a high estimate of 200,000 (lot 26). One of Boettis earliest tapestries, Alternando
da uno a Cento e Viceversa (1977), climbed to 300,750 ($388.760) (lot 34, est. 180,000-250,000).