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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Leathercraft Workshop in Marrakech from Kuku Big Bag

Get away and get crafty this May long weekend with Kuku Big Bag - with a four-day creative retreat in Morocco. As well as making your own bag, and stitching it by hand under the watchful eye of craftswoman Candice Lau, you will have the chance to visit traditional Moroccan tanneries to see where the leather originates, and truly see the story of your product from start to finish. All this at the beautiful Villa Magtafa in Marrakech, traditionally furnished villa with local cuisine cooked by our in-house chef. 

Four day trip at Villa Magtafa in Marrakech, Morocco

Friday 26th May - Monday 29th May 2017

COST: £725 or £650 for a shared room

N.B. A shared room will require you to share a bed with your partner. Only choose this option if you are happy to do so.

Price includes: 

  • Two days of workshop to make your own leather handbag

  • Pattern construction and learning the art of traditional leatherwork of hand stitching 

  • Your choice of leather

  • Trip to a world reknown Moroccan tannery

  • Stay in the beautiful Villa Magtafa, Marrakech (private room or shared with a friend) 

  • Bed, breakfast & dinner all included 

  • All meals - locally sourced and cooked by in-house chef from traditionally cooked shared couscous, to tagines and more.

  • Bus transfer from airport to Villa Magtafa on arrival and departure

  • Bus service from Villa Magtafa to tannery

Price does not include

  • Flights and travel insurance NOT included. Closest airport is Marrakech

  • Dinner outside of the villa and taxi to and from town are not included

"I have been working in leathercraft for the past 3 years and have honed my skills travelling across Europe, Africa and Asia. I was invited to visit Morocco with a dear friend a few years back and this was where I came to find my love, as well as Morocco's love for leathercraft. All across the souk and in amongst the narrow alley ways, I saw skilled craftsmen working at their craft. It was as though I have stepped back in time. It was truly an incredible experience for the sense. And that's what I'd like to share with my guests on this short course" - Candice Lau, founder 'Kuku Big Bag'


Guests need to arrive in Marrakech on the morning of Friday 26th May, 2017. Candice will be there to welcome you to take us back to Villa Magtafa for a welcome lunch. 

Breakfast is served from 9am which includes coffee, juices, pastries, and the typical Moroccan pancake.

Dinner is served every evening from 8pm and includes fresh local cuisine made by our in-house chef. There is an option to head into town for dinner and enjoy a night out. 

Please notify us if you have any special dietary requirements. 

Friday 26th May: Pick up from Marrakech airport and bus transfer to Villa Magtafa. A welcome lunch will be served at 2pm. After lunch, we will head into town for our tannery visit and an exploration of Marrakech famous souk. We will return to the villa for dinner. 

Saturday 27th May: Breakfast is served from 9am. We will have our full day of workshop under the canopy of our outdoor terrace. We will begin with the pattern making of your handbag, along with cutting and preparing the pieces for assembling. The workshop is hosted by Candice at from 10am til 6pm, with a short break for lunch. At the end of the day, guests can enjoy the pool and spa at the villa, or simply relax and enjoy the sun! Dinner will be served at 8pm.

Sunday 28th May: Breakfast is served from 9am. Our half day workshop begins at 10am. Your leather should be cut out and edges burnished, ready for assembling using hand stitching. After the workshop, you will have the afternoon free . Enjoy lunch at the villa, or take an excursion into town. 

* You have the option to spend the afternoon and evening in town (we will be happy to organise a taxi to take you to and from the villa). 

Monday 29th May: The morning is your chance to relax, enjoy the local area, have a final swim in the pool, or an relax morning in the spa. Check out from the villa is at 2pm and we will have a free transfer to the airport or town centre.