£409k sculpture leads amazing 'factory art' sale

The largest collection of Post War and Contemporary Art ever to come to auction in the Netherlands went up for sale last Monday (March 8).

Compiled over half a century and featuring 1,000 works by top artists from 40 countries, the Bat Artventure collection - former known as the Peter Stuyvesant collection - also had a fascinating back story.

Lili Ou Tony by Niki De Saint-Phalle

In the late-1950s, Alexander Orlow, Managing Director of Turmac Tobacco, decided to use abstract art to boost his employees' morale.

Year-on-year, he built what eventually became a world-class collection of colourful contemporary artworks - displayed in his factory and suspended above workers' machines.

A unique highlight in the sale was French artist Niki De Saint-Phalle's Lili Ou Tony.

The piece was originally conceived by Saint-Phalle as the crowning centrepiece for her pivotal exhibition at Alexander Iolas' Paris gallery in 1965.

Lili Ou Tony was among the first monumental 'Nana' sculptures that the artist created.

At over two metres tall, every inch of its brightly coloured and voluptuous patchwork body is designed to emanate a mood of pure optimism and joyous celebration.

Estimated at €200,000-300,000, the singular sculpture's final hammer price was €408,750.

It was auctioned by Sotheby's.


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