Jacques Majorelle's auction in Paris and Marrakech


From Orientalism to colonialism and independence, the double auction draws on 120 years of African art, with more than 70 works up for bidding.

The French artist Jacques Majorelle was born in 1886 in Nancy and died in 1962 in Paris, but the most productive period of his life were the three decades he spent in voluntary exile in Marrakech.

Although his artworks, depicting scenes from Moroccan everyday life, markets, folk festivals and rituals, were forgotten after his death, they have become very popular over the last decade. The renewed interest culminated at a small, special exhibition at the Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Marrakech (mYSLm) this October.

It was the famous fashion designer who bought Majorelle's deserted estate "Jardin Majorelle" in the former Moroccan capital in 1980, restored it and turned it into a visitor attraction.

After his death, Yves Saint Laurent had his ashes scattered in the gardens.

Colors and shapes of North Africa

Eleven of Majorelle's paintings are part of the double auction "Majorelle and his contemporaries" and "African Spirit" taking place simultaneously on December 30 in Paris and Marrakech.

Organized by the French auction house Artcurial, the sale includes two of his most famous paintings: "Le marché aux dattes" (The Date Market), created between 1940 and 1945, and "Les Allamattes," which renders a scene from a folk festival where women from Marrakech carry life-size dolls through the streets to pay homage to the Pasha of Marrakech.

Both canvases are estimated to sell for 200,000 to 300,000 euros. ($239,000-358,000)

In contrast to Majorelle's works, the canvases by European artists and Orientalists of the late 19th century are full of colonial influence and romanticizing realism.

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