Leonard Joel

The Magical Studio of Mirka Mora Breaks Records at Leonard Joel

Single Owner Auctions 4 Mar 2019

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The Magical Studio of Mirka Mora smashed auction records at Leonard Joel last night in an eight-hour auction which attracted over 1,500 bidders and over 500 people in the room.

Leading the auction records was a rare, mixed media mural (Lot 223, estimate $60,000-80,000), Untitled which sold for $96,100 to a bidder in the room, on behalf of Heide Museum of Modern Art. Painted in the 70s, the large-scale mural once hung in Tolarno’s and features all of Mirka’s signature motifs and in the words of Mirka’s son, William, ‘represents Mirka’s world of magic and wonder.’

The previous record for a work of art by Mirka Mora at auction was $25,000. In total, The Magical Studio of Mirka Mora realised $1,165,000 against a pre-auction estimate of $600,000-800,000.

William Mora said of the auction, ‘Today has been history in the making. Mirka has been crowned a Modern, not just a Bohemian! I think that the mural Heide have bought is really the icing on the cake, made possible by the incredible crowd funding campaign, Mirka for Melbourne. A rare, iconic work has found it’s rightful home. I am thrilled.’

John Albrecht, Leonard Joel Managing Director said, ‘It was a joy to celebrate Mirka, her life and her art in what felt like a historic moment today. Mirka occupied a unique space in the hearts of Melburnians who connected with her art and her vivacious personality. I don’t think that connection will ever wane and we are delighted that so many who loved her now have a piece of Mirka for themselves.

However, we are especially delighted that the rare and significant mural has found a home exactly where it should have, at Heide, for all to enjoy for many years to come.’

Another auction record was set for a soft-sculpture, Good Morning Angel 1979 (Lot 252, estimate $3,000-5,000) which sold for an astonishing $77,500, while Winged Lovers, a mixed media work on paper (Lot 220 estimate $3,500-5,000) by Mora and her friend and contemporary, John Perceval sold for $47,100 to a private collector who revealed that she was delighted and that Mora and Perceval were her two favourite artists.

Elsewhere in the auction, Mirka’s ceramics were also extremely popular while a 1950s planet lamp, hand-painted by the artist (Lot 64, estimate $1,000-1,500) sold for $5,208, a hand-painted tin bath sold for $2,108 and a selection of Mirka’s teddy bears for over $1,000.