A Rare Magritte Painting, Created for His Muse, Fetches $79.75 Million

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René Magritte’s famous paintings sold for $ 79.75 million, breaking the world auction record for the first time for Surrealist artists to hit the market.

The price tag, including the price tag, made the work the second most valuable painting According to Sotheby’s, in US dollars so far sold at European auctions. In British pounds, it is ranked as the most valuable at £ 59.4m.

The Empire of Light is a paradoxical combination of night street scenes lit by daylight and against a cloud-filled blue sky, and is one of the greatest works in the series. Of 17 oil paintings, all with the same name.

Magritte created this painting in 1961 for Anne-Marie Gillion Crowe, the daughter of Pierre Croue, an art collector and patron of Surrealism in Belgium. It remains family-owned and has recently appeared in exhibitions around the world, including a 10-year stay at the Magritte Museum in Brussels.

At the Sotheby’s evening auction in London on Wednesday, a bidding war broke out over the work. Alex Branchk, a long-time specialist at Sotheby’s, now based in Hong Kong and often representing Asian collectors, defended anonymous telephone bidders who won the job.

According to an edit of his for-sale work from Artnet, this painting is currently the most expensive work ever sold by Mr. Magritte.,

Auction tracking company. “”And that’s the record for Rene Magritte’s new world auction, “said Helena Newman, Sotheby’s European President and Global Head of Impressionism and Contemporary Art, at the end of Wednesday’s job bid. ..

The “Pleasure Principle” previously set a record of Mr. Magritt’s work at the auction. Created in 1937, the oil painting sold in Sotheby’s New York in 2018 for over $ 26.8 million.

Another piece in the Empire of Light series (a small piece created in 1949) sold for over $ 20.5 million from Christie’s New York in 2017, surpassing an estimated $ 14 to $ 18 million.

Sold on Wednesday, The Empire of Light is behind Claude Monet’s oil painting in 1919, as the second most expensive painting in US dollars auctioned in Europe. According to Artnet, “Water Lily Pond” sold for over $ 80.3 million at Christie’s London in 2008.

Sotheby’s predicted that the 1961 “Empire of Light” painting would sell over $ 60 million. Wednesday’s record sale follows the enthusiastic year of the global art market, where collectors paid record amounts for everything from vintage pinball machines to brand new paintings by Nicholas Party.

Sotheby’s expected this “Empire of Light” painting to sell for over $ 60 million. Wednesday’s record sale follows the enthusiastic year of the global art market, where collectors paid record amounts for everything from vintage pinball machines to brand new paintings by Nicholas Party.

Emmanuel Di Donna, a New York-based art dealer and expert in Surrealism, contemporary and post-war art, said:

Other works of Magritte’s “The Empire of Light” series, which he started in 1948, are exhibited in museums and held by individuals. Di Donna said the work “checks all the boxes”, especially in its size, image, condition, source, or history of possession.

“It’s exciting to see paintings that have never been on the market appear about 60 years after they were acquired,” he said. “It’s very rare for a family to have this masterpiece for years.”

This artwork was the headline for Sotheby’s London auction of modern and contemporary works featuring artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet and Pierre Auguste Renoir. According to the auction house, Magritte may have been inspired by André Breton’s poem “L’Aigrette.” This poem is written in English as “If the sun rises tonight”. According to the auction house, this work also influenced the scene of the 1973 movie The Exorcist.

“Its immediacy and power encapsulates the’star quality’that places Magrit firmly in the Pantheon of the most popular artists on the market,” Sotheby’s Europe’s Newman said in a statement earlier this year.

Perhaps the most popular Surrealist painter, Magritte is known for his conceptualism and its juxtaposition with abstract dreamlike elements throughout his work. Some of his most famous works feature bowler hats and apples, like the 1964 oil painting “Child of Man”.

“The Treachery of Images” is a 1929 painting depicting a pipe with the words “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” (“this is not a pipe”) and is probably his most iconic artwork. It is on display at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

His work has become more sophisticated throughout his career, and his surrealism has influenced contemporary artists today, Di Donna said.

“Surrealism as an idea is a mode of expression that I think is still very alive,” said Di Donna. “That’s why contemporary artists and collectors are so embraced.”

—KellyCrow contributed to this article.

Write to Jennifer Calfas at [email protected]

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