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For the first time at auction: 10 modern works from the collection of Dina Vierny
Aristide Maillol, Dina sur La Rivière, 1938. Pastel 80 x 125cm. Est. €250,000-350,000.

PARIS.- In association with Sotheby’s Paris and in partnership with Stephane Connery, a selection of ten historic works from the private collection of Dina Vierny will be offered for auction by Artcurial at the Hôtel Marcel-Dassault in Paris on 2 December 2013.

Dina Vierny, who died in 2009, devoted her life to art. She left an exceptional legacy in the form of the Foundation she created in 1995, devoted primarily to the work of Aristide Maillol.

Four years after her death, Dina Vierny’s sons have decided to pay tribute to their mother by choosing to offer for auction iconic works from her personal collection by Maillol, Matisse, Dufy, Bulatov and Kabakov, hitherto kept within the family. These works retrace Dina Vierny’s extraordinary career as an artist’s model, a member of the Resistance, an art dealer and founder of the Musée Maillol in Paris.

Dina Vierny was born into a Jewish family in Moldova in 1919 but quit Stalin’s USSR with her family in 1925 and settled in Paris where, through her parents, she became acquainted with the members of the Russian intelligentsia.

Her encounter with Aristide Maillol (1861-1944) was decisive. She was only 15 at the time; he was 73. Dina became the key figure in his work: the ageing sculptor had found the perfect muse. Their collaboration was highly fruitful and lasted a decade (1935-44), yielding over three-dozen sculptures, dozens of drawings and a number of paintings, all reflecting the dialogue between physical perfection and mature artistic talent.

The auction includes three major works by Aristide Maillol that offer powerful evidence of Dina Vierny’s influence :

• La Rivière, in a lead casting from 1938 (est. €2-3 million)
• a study for La Rivière (est. €250,000-300,000)
• L’Harmonie, Maillol’s final work (est. €400,000-600,000)

During the French Occupation, Dina joined the American Resistance network Varian Fry, which helped anti-fascists, crossover into Spain. To protect his model, Aristide Maillol entrusted her to his friends Henri Matisse, Raoul Dufy and Pierre Bonnard. The sale also includes a set of four ink drawings of Dina by Henri Matisse (1869-1954) along with a portrait of her by Raoul Dufy (1877-1953).

In 1947, encouraged by Matisse, Dina Vierny opened a gallery at 36 rue Jacob, leading to an overnight success. She showed both famous and lesser-known artists, from Picasso to Poliakoff, Kandinsky, Laurens and the Naïve art of Bauchant. Promoting the second Russian Avant-Garde would also be one of Dina Vierny’s great campaigns after World War II. She helped artists she had discovered and actively supported, notably Erik Bulatov and Ilya Kabakov (both born 1933), to leave the USSR. The sale features works she acquired for her own collection such as Bulatov’s spectacular 1992 painting La Liberté (est. €600,000-800,000).

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