The painting will be sold during the house’s upcoming cross-category London sale titled “Modern Renaissance,” alongside works by Edvard Munch, David Hockney, and Arshile Gorky.
Minotauro sulla riva del mare (1977) is now coming to the market for the first time under the joint-ownership of the artist’s estate, run by his heirs Leyla and Rooja Mohassessy and the Italy-based Bruni family, which has held the work for three decades. The piece is expected to achieve a price between £350,000–£450,000 ($488,100–$627,600).
Mohassess took his cues from Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst, Henry Moore, and Alberto Giacometti; his anthropomorphic figures have also been compared to Francis Bacon, who, like Mohassess, was openly gay.
In Italy, Mohassess drew his inspiration from Cubism, Surrealism, and Greek mythology, integrating them with their aesthetics with references to his own Iranian heritage.
Mohassess’s market has grown in recent years as European institutions began paying more attention to his art. In 2014, he was included in the exhibition “Unedited History” at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. That same year, Tate Modern acquired a group of five 1966 gouache paintings depicting his signature sculpture-like faceless head. In 2017, long-unseen works by Bacon and Mohassess from the permanent collection of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art were showcased in Iran’s capital.