SALE: Collection Mis, Art Moderne et Contemporain
LOCATION: Sotheby’s Paris
DATE: October 24, 2012
ABOUT: The Sotheby’s sale of Zaira and Marsel Mis’s collection next week in Paris should help whet the growing appetite for surrealism. Rene Magritte leads the pack of 72 works with the top lot, “La Grande Table,” featuring one of his final apple paintings, this time with the giant fruit rendered in stone on a rocky landscape. The painting is estimated at $3.76 million to $6.27 million.
More stone imagery appears in Magritte’s word painting, “l’Usage de la Parole VI,” estimated at $500,000 to $700,000; silhouettes painted in the shape of paper cut-outs recall his contemporaries Max Ernst and Jean Arp in “La Parure de l’Orage,” estimated at $1.2 million to $1.8 million; and an untitled page of sketchy nude figures is estimated to fetch $12,000 to $18,000.
But while some choice surrealist works are on offer, the sale does not particularly emphasize Magritte and his movement. As Sotheby’s points out, the eclectic collection “makes no claim to chart the history of 20th-century art and does not concentrate on any specific period or movement.” Instead, the lots dart around from American pop art to Austrian expressionism to contemporary Italian conceptualism, and beyond.
Zaira Mis, an Italian transplant in Belgium, worked in furniture design, but became very active in the Italian arte povera and conceptualist movements of the 1960s and 1970s. She collected work by artists like Alighiero Boetti, Piero Manzoni, and Lucio Fontana, who has a sliced brass “Concetto Spaziale” painting in the sale, estimated at $752,000 to $1 million, among other works.
Turkish-born Marsel Mis’s influence on the collection is less obvious. But the textile engineer had a clear passion for Asian costumes and textiles, of which the couple also amassed a massive collection.
— Rachel Corbett