On 30 December, Artcurial
will hold three major sales at La Mamounia, Marrakech, streamed live in Paris. The sales will be dedicated to Majorelle and his Contemporaries, Modern & Contemporary Moroccan & International Art, and Contemporary African Art, the latter organised by the new director in this field, Christophe Person.
« Since 2016, Artcurial has organised its year-end sales in Marrakech. Our session will be divided into 3 chapters: Majorelle and his contemporaries, Modern and Contemporary Moroccan and International Art in which we will pay tribute to the great Moroccan artist Mohamed Melehi and, to conclude, Contemporary African Art. We look forward to meeting our Moroccan and international collectors in this wonderful place that is La Mamounia. » Olivier Berman, Director Artcurial Morocco
« As a committed patron of the arts, La Mamounia is delighted to be hosting Artcurials auctions for the second year running. Against the magnificent backdrop of the Grand Salon in La Mamounia, each piece of work will have its place during the week. In the particular context we find ourselves in, we are doubly honoured. A warm welcome to Artcurial at La Mamounia. » Pierre Jochem, General Manager of La Mamounia
Majorelle and his contemporaries
On 30 December, Artcurial Maroc will present several important paintings as part of its sale dedicated to Majorelle and his contemporaries. These include the superb oil on canvas Lécole coranique by Etienne Dinet, a rare subject that the artist only depicted twice in his career. It is estimated to fetch between 480 000 and 600 000 . It will be accompanied by two other canvases by the artist Sous le burnous and Au bord de loued (both estimated at 2 200 000 - 3 300 000 MAD / 200 000 - 300 000 ).
In December 2019, Artcurial achieved the highest auction price ever recorded in Morocco for a painting by Etienne Dinet, Le fils dun Saint Mrabeth, which sold for 13 119 000 MAD / 1,2 M including premium.
Five works by renowned artist Jacques Majorelle will star in the sale, with a major highlight being the wonderful Entrée des souks. This painting, created using mixed media on canvas, is a snapshot of the busy daily life of the citys inhabitants in colours that appear to explode under the Marrakech sun (estimate : 550 000 - 770 000 MAD / 50 000 - 70 000 ).
Also presented will be eleven works by the Franco-Russian Orientalist painter Alexandre Roubtzoff, from a private collection and coming under the hammer for the first time. The paintings, including the only known self-portrait by the artist, have estimates between 220 000 and 330 000 MAD / 20 000 and 30 000 . Also included in the sale will be a magnificent oil on canvas by the same artist depicting Hany au thé (estimate : 1 320 000 - 1 980 000 MAD / 120 000 - 180 000 ).
Modern & Contemporary Moroccan & International Art
As part of the Modern & Contemporary Moroccan & International Art sale Artcurial will pay tribute to an immense artist who died on 28 October this year, a pioneer of contemporary Moroccan Art: Mohammed Melehi. « Born a rebel and a hopeless optimist, the Moroccan painter (...) was involved in every artistic struggle » as described by the editorial of the newspaper Le Monde.
The auction house will present four works by the artist, including two that are iconic representations of his work: Flammes, a flamboyant metal sculpture, one of an edition of five, estimated at 700 000 - 1 000 000 MAD / 70 000 - 100 000 , and a large acrylic with the same title, estimated at 700 000 - 1 000 000 MAD / 70 000 - 100 000 .
The Sortie du roi by the Moroccan figurative painter Hassan El Glaoui (estimate: 550 000 - 770 000 MAD / 50 000 - 70 000 ) will appear alongside a selection of works by well-known Moroccan artists such as Chaïbia Talal, Jilali Gharbaoui, Mohamed Kacimi and Fouad Bellamine.
Collectors will also be thrilled to discover Vallière, a large-scale work by the founder of Lyrical Abstraction, the French artist Georges Mathieu, which completes this panoramic view of modern and contemporary art in the sale. Painted in 1964, this oil on canvas has an estimate of 800 000 1 200 000 MAD / 72 800 110 000 .
Contemporary African Art
The final sale will showcase a wide selection of talent from the emerging African scene, and stars two works by Moroccan artist Mohamed Saïd Chair. He is known for using cardboard boxes as both his subject and his medium, as in Road Runners (est: 55 000 - 88 000 MAD / 5 000 - 8 000 ). The South African artist Bambo José Sibiya will be represented by a diptych illustrating the Swenkas, farm workers who migrate to towns looking for ways to improve their lives. The typewriter symbolises the need to record the history of African art (est: 44 000 - 66 000 MAD / 4 000 - 6 000 ). There is also a dreamlike representation of nature by the Ugandan artist Joseph Ntensibe, Tropical gardens, where we can detect in the flamboyant forest the pre-cubism of Cézanne and the light of Klimt (est: 220 000 - 330 000 MAD / 20 000 - 30 000 ).
A throne made from decommissioned weapons of war by the Mozambican artist Gonçalo Mabunda is included in the sale. This piece, a metaphorical comment on the power of African leaders, is similar to the one that was displayed at the Venice Biennale (est: 66 000 - 88 000 MAD / 6 000 - 8 000 ). Displayed alongside will be an untitled acrylic by Saint-Etienne Yéanzi from the Ivory Coast which re-interprets pointillism in a piece that is critical of consumerism and pollution on the streets of Abidjan, estimated at 132 000 198 000 MAD /12 000 18 000 .
« Contemporary African art has been on the rise for the last ten years. Gone are the codes and aesthetics of tribal art, these young artists consider themselves to be citizens of the world. » explains Christophe Person, director of the Contemporary African Art department. « The dreams and aspirations of young people in Abidjan, Khartoum and Kampala are the same as for those living in London, Hong Kong and Chicago, with the paradoxes of African history added in. Their precursory vision is capable of understanding and digesting the issues of our time, in particular, those relating to identity, gender, the environment and urbanisation. »