Christie's I.M.A.gination charity sale to benefit the Claude and France Lemand I.M.A. Fund

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Christie's I.M.A.gination charity sale to benefit the Claude and France Lemand I.M.A. Fund
Najia Mehadji, La Vierge à l’enfant, 2019. Estimate: €15,000-20,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2020.

PARIS.- Claude and France Lemand, Parisian collectors and gallery owners, who presented Middle Eastern Art in the capital as early as 1988, have decided to donate 44 works by Middle Eastern, Japanese and French artists from their personal collection to be sold by Christie’s Paris to help young artists who are in great need due to the Covid 19 crisis and to benefit the Claude & France Lemand-IMA Fund at the Institut du Monde Arabe. The fund aims to secure future acquisitions, organise exhibitions, undertake research work, publish exhibition catalogues.

The format of the sale will be an online auction, starting on 24 June and closing on 16 July. Some selected highlights will be on view at Christie’s Paris from 26 and to 30 June, during the Post-War and Contemporary Art Paris sales, then from 4 to 10 July again, during the exhibition of Christie’s new concept Evening sale ‘ONE’ taking place in 4 cities. Estimates range from €1,000 to €40,000 and works by each artist are already present in the collections of the Institut du Monde Arabe and many of the 26 artists are also represented in permanent collections of other international institutions.

In October 2018, Claude and France Lemand have generously donated more than 1300 works by Middle Eastern artists to the Institut du Monde Arabe museum, the largest donation in the history of the institution, founded in 1980 by 18 Arab countries in Paris. One year later, the number of works donated reached 1500.

The 44 works are spanning 60 years of artistic development throughout the Middle East, starting with the top lot of the sale Shafic Abboud’s 1959 work entitled Saison, and estimated at €40,000-60,000 and finishes with a series of 9 works produced in 2019-2020 as tributes to the Notre-Dame fire in April 2019. Claude Lemand initiated this project as the Institut du Monde Arabe directly oversees Notre-Dame and hence was a first-hand witness on the destruction of the historical monument.

Jack Lang, Former French Minister of Culture and President of the Institut du Monde Arabe comments: “Claude and France Lemand were among the first to believe in the creativity of contemporary artists in the Arab world. They are also known for their generosity. A donation is always a human adventure. It continues and grows, since the benefactors of the IMA Museum are now also becoming benefactors of artists from the Arab world. I am pleased to bring my patronage to this charity sale”.

Valérie Didier, Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art Specialist: “What a pleasure and honour to organize a sale in Paris to benefit the Claude and France Lemand - IMA Fund. I personally have immense admiration for the couple, in particular for their unprecedented generosity, as Claude and France have devoted their whole life to defend these artists. I am convinced collectors will be present to support their latest great cause and to reinvigorate the Institut du Monde Arabe’s activity.”

Shafic Abboud (1926-2004) is one of the foremost Arab artists of the 20th century. His paintings are a manifesto for freedom, colour, light and joy, as well as being a permanent bridge between the art scenes of France and Lebanon and that of Europe and the Middle East. Both Lebanese and Parisian, he was very attached to Lebanon, to its landscapes, its light and his own childhood memories. The stories of his grandmother, who was the village’s story-teller, left an indelible mark on him, at a very early age. Shafic Abboud arrived in 1947 in Paris. He is represented with two works: Saison 1959, estimate €40,000-60,000, and a nice Composition done the following year, estimate €5,000-7,000.

Dia Al-Azzawi (born 1939, Baghdad), started his artistic career in 1964, after graduating from the Institute of Fine Arts and Archaeology in Baghdad. His studies of ancient civilizations and Iraqi heritage had a profound impact on his art, and a key objective in the early formation of his artistic style was to link the visual culture of the past to the present. He is internationally recognised as one of the pioneers of modern Arab art. Defined by its powerful visual impact and brilliant colour, Al-Azzawi’s art covers a range of subjects executed in a variety of media, including painting, sculpture, drawing, prints and art books. He lives and works in London since 1976, but continues to derive inspiration from his homeland, Iraq. With exhibitions of his work held worldwide, his art features in numerous private and public collections. Dia Al-Azzawi in his own words about his art: "My work is part of the Renaissance of Arab Art trend, yet it is universal in its dimension and interlocked within contemporary history and culture."

Dia Al-Azzawi is represented with three works in this auction: Search for a Symbol, 2006, estimate €20,000-30,000, Arabic Letter, 1984-2005, estimate €15,000-20,000 and was also part of the group of artists creating tributes to the fire of Notre-Dame My tribute to Notre Dame, 2019, estimate: €20,000-30,000.

Another artist who paid tribute to the fire of Notre-Dame is French-Moroccan female artist Najia Mehadji (b. 1950), who created a vibrant and unusually large 180 x 110 cm painting of La Vierge à l’Enfant, 2019, estimate: €15,000-20.000. "This is the painting I made as a tribute to Our Lady, based on the sculpture of the Madonna and Child at the entrance to the choir near the left transept (at Notre Dame) and the many blue drapes that feature the mantle of the Virgin in Bellini's or Fra Angelico's paintings. Its dimensions, 180 x 110 cm, are those of the sculpture of Our Lady, and the red background refers both to the fire and to the colours of the stained-glass windows in the cathedral's rosettes. ", commented Najia Mehadj on, 27.05.2019 about her work.

All artists represented in the auction are: Shafic Abboud - Youssef Abdelke - Etel Adnan - Nasser Al-Aswadi - Boutros Al-Maari - Dia Al-Azzawi - Assadour - Abdallah Benanteur - Mahjoub Ben Bella - Halida Boughriet - Chaouki Choukini - Dahmane - Khaled Dawwa - Fatima El-Hajj - Abdelkader Guermaz - Mohamed Kacimi - Mohammed Khadda - Mohammad Omar Khalil - Manabu Kochi - Mohamed Lekleti - Hussein Madi - Najia Mehadji - François Sargologo - Hussein Taï - Khaled Takreti - Hani Zurob

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