Sotheby’s is honoured to announce the sale of part of the Marcel Brient Collection of Contemporary Art, to be held in Paris on 25th September 2012 and consisting of around 100 lots reflecting the collecting career of this intuitive, free-thinking Frenchman. The ensemble presents a rich overview of creation in France since the 1960s, and of the extraordinary diversity of the artists involved.
In the words of Stefano Moreni, Head of Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s France: ‘Although this ensemble selected from the Marcel Brient Collection makes no claim to be exhaustive, it will offer collectors from France and around the world a deeply varied insight into the work of artists in France over the last forty years, and a rare opportunity to acquire works that occupy a major role in the history of art.’
Over four decades Marcel Brient discreetly amassed one of the largest collections of contemporary art in France – more as a personal adventure than a commercial undertaking. He prefers ‘works discovered by chance’ and believes strongly that each work is linked to history ‘in an extraordinary way.’ A number of encounters have guided his eye down the years, the most decisive being that with Louis Clayeux, Director of Galerie Maeght in Paris from 1948-65, who took him to visit Alberto Giacometti in his studio. As well as regularly acquiring works by artists based in France, Marcel Brient was also one of the first to buy works by Jeff Koons, John Currin, Takashi Murakami and Felix Gonzales-Torres – not forgetting Georg Baselitz, Sigmar Polke and Kara Walker. The artist’s nationality was irrelevant; it was solely Brient’s taste and eye that led him to the artists he admired.
This demanding collector with radical tastes has always been keen to transmit his passion, and this desire is reflected here by the sale’s didactic selection – offering the market the chance to recognize the artists Marcel Brient supported through his acquisitions down the years.
The collection will also permit an in-depth appraisal of various chapters in the recent history of art in France, covering such powerful individual artists as Michel Parmentier and Simon Hantaï, and beginning with Brient’s first ever purchase: La Relève (1947), a gouache by Jean Hélion.