Marlene Dumas donates Mouth painting about women’s rights for Amnesty International sale


Works by Richard Serra and Marlene Dumas will go under the hammer today at Sotheby’s Paris in aid of Amnesty International. Nine works in total have been consigned for the charity sale; Serra’s ink etching, entitled Orchard Street #83, has an estimate of €250,000 to €300,000, while Dumas’s contribution is Mouth (est €300,000-€400,000), an illustration made for the Dutch translation of the French poet Charles Baudelaire’s work, Le Spleen de Paris (1869).

Dumas says in a statement: “I chose this work for Amnesty, because people are arrested for opening their mouths, for speaking out. Women speak, and today also with Iran in mind, to mention just one, it feels more specifically about woman’s rights. Baudelaire was against political injustice—he criticised the French of his time severely—and so is Amnesty.”

Other works on offer include Plate With Flowers (2014) by Ai Weiwei (est €40,000-€60,000) and Landscape with Birds (2021) by Genieve Figgis (est €50,000-€70,000).

“[The artists] responded generously to our call for support and have consigned beautiful works of art that represent the best of their art and a strong message of solidarity with Amnesty,” Sylvie Brigot, managing director, Amnesty International France, says in an online statement.

Asked about Amnesty’s current priorities, she cites “a resurgent Taliban regime in Afghanistan and its suppression of women and girls [and] atrocities against civilians in the Ethiopian province of Tigray”, among other causes.

The same evening auction will also offer the second tranche of works (nine in total) from the collection of the late Whitney Museum president, David M. Solinger. Last month, the Solinger collection auction at Sotheby’s New York was a sold-out, white glove affair, bringing in a hammer total of $116.3m ($137.9m with fees). A painting by Jean Dubuffet (Brume du matin sur la campagne, 1945) carries the highest estimate in the Paris sale (€1.3m-€1.8m).


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