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Iolas' influences on 20th century art earned him the name 'Alexander the Great' in the art world. He introduced Surrealism to an American audience; supported Warhol's international success; held pivotal exhibitions for Max Ernst and René Magritte as well as nurturing the talents of Lucio Fontana and Ed Ruscha.

Between 1945 to 1980, Iolas was a pre-cursor for the 'celebrity' art dealer and gallerist. Georgina Gold, Senior Director, Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Department, London: ''In many ways, Alexander Iolas lived a surreal life, and in constantly looking to the future and to the past, he was a Janus-like figure whose imprint on art history should not be underestimated.''

Screen Shot 2017-05-08 at 12.09.16 Fontana, Concetto Spaziale

Screen Shot 2017-05-08 at 12.09.24 Max Ernst, Constellation

He devoted himself to the artists he championed with friendship and financial support as well as their artists process, inspiring ideas and themes. From de Chirico, he commissioned costumes and set designs for a ballet production in Athens; in the mid-1980s he proposed to Warhol that the artist create a series of works based on Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper for an exhibition in Milan, a project Warhol relished. The bond between Warhol and Iolas was especially strong, and the two The bond between Warhol and Iolas was especially strong, and the two continued to work together closely until their deaths, only months apart in 1987.

Screen Shot 2017-05-08 at 12.09.06 Andy Warhol, Alexander the Great

Iolas staged career-changing exhibitions of new work by Max Ernst and René Magritte, fostered the talents of artists such as Lucio Fontana and Claude Lalanne, and also connected with the Pop sensibility of Ed Ruscha and the eroticism of Takis, giving shows to both. He was even one of the few people at the time to fully embrace Picasso's late paintings, when these works by the artist were undervalued and unappreciated by all but a discerning few.

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Iolas was known for his impeccable and sensational personal style, he cut a swathe through the art world with his flamboyant persona. His biography reads like a collection of fantastical tales, it was said that he had married Theodora Roosevelt to attain a Green Card and that curls of his hair were made into false eyelashes for Marlene Dietrich.

Over 150 lots will be offered for sale, with estimates ranging from $130 to $195 000. Check out more from Sotheby's here.

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