F ew men have left such an impression on the 20th-century art scene as Alexandre Iolas. Possessing a flamboyant and charismatic personality, Iolas was an exceptional promoter of the artistic avant-garde. One of the first to have established a truly international gallery network (New York City in 1955, followed by Paris, Milan, Rome, Madrid and Geneva), Iolas was above all an incredible talent scout: the very first to exhibit Andy Warhol and one of the first active supporters of Max Ernst, René Magritte, Victor Brauner, Matta, Ed Ruscha, Martial Raysse, Jean Tinguely, Takis and Niki de Saint Phalle and the Lalannes.
Having shared Iolas' life for more than 25 years, André Mourgues had a uniquely close perspective on this exceptional destiny. A partner both privately and professionally, Mourgues handled public relations for the Paris-based Iolas gallery from 1964 until it closed. He also accompanied Alexandre Iolas on his many projects around the world and became friends with many artists who would not be as well-known as they are today without Iolas’ visionary eye and conviction. The sale of his collection tells of a life dedicated to a love of art and artists.
“Iolas was really fond of Max Ernst. He was the great artistic love of his life. Max was always very anxious. Iolas reassured him. Iolas opened his gallery in Paris for Max. He would always say, ‘I opened this gallery for Max, and I’ll close it when he dies.’ And that’s exactly what he did.”
“Warhol was very close to Iolas. There was a time when we went to see him three times a week at the Factory. Iolas is the one who organised Warhol’s very first exhibitions, as well as the last ones.”
“One evening when we were closing the gallery, Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint Phalle arrived, telling us to hurry to a little gallery belonging to Jeanine Restany. They had friends who were exhibiting there. It turned out to be the Lalanne. Iolas and I adored their work. and we immediately became close.”