Magritte Sets Record With $79.7 Million Sale at Sotheby’s

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One of Rene Magritte’s famous “The Empire of Light” canvas sold on Wednesday for £ 59.4m, or about $ 79.7 million. This is almost three times the high price at auction for the works of Belgian Surrealist artists. Thanks to the lowest guaranteed price funded by Sotheby’s, it is certain to raise at least $ 60 million, and the 1961 painting was sought by three bidders represented by Sotheby’s experts on a London phone call. I did.

The painting “The Empire of Light”, with its nocturnal lamp streets and calm sunny skies, is one of the most famous and mysterious images of 20th century art. Since 1948, Magrit has painted more than 17 canvases day and night.

The latest and greatest Sotheby’s variant was created for Anne-Marie Gillion Croue, the daughter of Magritte’s friend, patron, and chess opponent Pierre Croue. Since then, it has remained in the same family collection.

Melanie Clore, co-founder of London-based art advisor company Clore Wyndham, said:

She described this 1961 work as “one of the most desirable Magritte paintings to be put up for auction” in terms of composition, scale and condition.

In 2011, when Croix worked as an Impressionist and contemporary art specialist at Sotheby’s, her department auctioned the 1953 edition for $ 3.8 million, which wasn’t the best price for an artist at the time.

Magritte was an obvious outstanding lot of this week’s London Marquee Spring series auction dedicated to the expensive Impressionists, modern and contemporary art. But such top-end sales at Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Philips’ European headquarters are not as good as they once were.

According to London-based company Pi-eX, Britain’s economy has declined due to Brexit, China has become a stronger force in the global art market, and London is the third-selling after New York and Hong Kong in 2021. It was an auction center. Analyze sales at international auctions.

The hybrid live online “Evening” sale in London took place in the afternoon to span the time zones of the world, and Impressionists and contemporary art were no longer auctioned on another day. Bonnard is messed up with Basquiat and Banksy.

“It’s a new world,” said Christian Ogier, a Paris-based dealer who regularly participates in these London auctions. “It’s understandable to mix modern and modern. Why not? I’m not in any category.”

However, London, with its highly concentrated international wealth, including the Russian oligarchy linked to the Kremlin (which the British government is currently trying to limit and regulate), is attractive to famous art trophy buyers and sellers. It continues to be the target.

In addition to Magrit, Sotheby’s sales also included Monet’s “Nymphace,” or water lily canvas, painted in 1914-17, which had not been auctioned since 1978. By telephone bidder.

On Tuesday night, Christie’s offered The Fox, a fresh masterpiece of the market by German expressionist painter Franz Marc, as the headline for spring sales in London.

The “fox” (1913), which recently returned to the heirs of Berlin collectors Kurt and Elsgrawi, was one of Marc’s studies of the most powerful cubist-influenced animals. (Artists praised them more than humans.)

Guaranteed to sell for at least $ 47 million, it was pushed up to $ 57.2 million by three phone bidders. This is the highest selling price for Christie’s and is the artist’s record at the auction.

Francis Bacon’s seemingly impressive “Triptych 1986-7” was similarly estimated and guaranteed. However, Bacon’s late paintings were far less popular than his previous works, and the work fell to a single bid of $ 51.6 million, the ninth highest auction price for important artists.

About 90% of the buyers’ lots found by Christie’s, Banksy’s “Happy Chopper” is a stencil painting depicting a helicopter gunship wearing a Minnie Mouse bow, with a low estimate of $ 4 million. On the other hand, it didn’t sell.

Tuesday night sales at Christie’s raised $ 298 million. $ 297.2 million was sold at the Wednesday evening auction at Sotheby’s, preceded by “The Now.”The total $ 595 million was 39 According to Pi-eX, art sales were down percent from the $ 971 million achieved with comparable sales in London in February 2014.

Paintings by young market favorites caused the most fierce competition. Christie’s sold 20 contemporary works live-streamed from Shanghai for 90 minutes, opened new offices and galleries in mainland China, and then Jade Fado Jutimi, Shala Hughes, Amoakoboafo, Flora Yuknovich. Inspired by Fragonard’s “The Swing,” the 2017 Yuknovich painting spent $ 2.6 million on a low estimate of $ 340,000, “you will blush me.”

The same name shined on Sotheby’s 21-lot “The Now” sale by a trendy contemporary artist. Shara Hughes’ psychedelic 2019 flower painting “The Naked Lady” sold for a record $ 2.7 million, and Yukhnovich’s 2020 work “Warm, Wet N’Wild” surged to $ 3.6 million and became popular. Set up a high auction. British artist. It was estimated to sell for $ 200,000.

Last year, the work of an artist under the age of 40 raised a record $ 450 million at auction. This is an increase of 275% from 2020, with 8,952 works in the category offered, which is also a record according to Artprice, a French-based company that tracks the results of international sales offices.

“It’s dangerous,” said Samuel Selby, 21, a collector of contemporary works based in London. “I’m worried about how the auction house picks up the work of young artists and sells them at ridiculous prices.”

“It will be difficult to maintain in the long run,” Selby added.

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