Monday, February 26, 2018

Christie’s’ Art of the Surreal 27 February 2018

The Art of the Surreal sale will follow the Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale on 27 February 2018.

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  René Magritte , Le groupe silencieux , oil on canvas, 1926, estimate: £6,5 00,000 - 9,500,000

Magritte’s large Le groupe silencieux of 1926, one of a handful of large and important early works by the artist, is the highlight of the sale . 

Pablo Picasso. Figure, 1930

Pablo Picasso , Figure , oil and charcoal on panel, 1930, estimate: £3,000,000 - 5,000,000 

 Picasso’s Figure of 1930, not seen at auction for half a century, is a powerfully architectural composition relating to 

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MOMA’s Baigneuse of the same year, which clearly shows Picasso’s influence on later artists such as Henry Moore and Francis Bacon.
Max Ernst , Les invités du dimanche , oil on canvas, 1924 , e stimate: £2,000,000 - 3 , 0 00,000 
Joan Mir ó , Painting, oil on canvas, 1925 and 1964 , estimate: £2,000,000 - 3 ,000,000  

René Magritte 

The sale includes seven paintings by René Magritte, led by Le groupe silencieux (above), (1926, estimate: £6,500,000 - 9,500,000) an important example of his early Surrealist style, and where all the pictorial devices, props and structures that go into the making of a so - called ‘figurative’ or ‘representational’ painting have been rendered in an unusual, subversive manner. The work is one of a pioneering series of oil paintings that the artist made between January 1926 and April 1927 in preparation for his first one - man show, held at the Galerie le Centaure, Brussels in the spring of 1927. In conjunction with his deconstruction of the components of landscape and still - life painting there is also a sense that the representation of the human figure has been broken down into parts. This painting is, in this respect, a landmark work that establishes some of the logic and framework of the aesthetic path that Magritte was to follow for the rest of his life. 

Le groupe silencieux is offered alongside

L'ètat de veille

L'état de veille (1958, estimate: £150,000 - 200,000), 


Nu (1925, estimate: £100,000 - 200,000), 

 René Magritte : Le Recherche de l'Absolu

La recherche de l'absolu (1948, estimate: £1,000,000 - 1,500,000), 

 Magritte carrot bottle

L’explication (1962, estimate: £400,000 - 700,000), 

René Magritte (1898-1967), Les signes du soir

Les signes du soir (1926, estimate: £1,500,000 - 2,500,000 ) 

Oasis, 1925 by Rene Magritte

and L'oasis (1926, estimate: £1,400,000 - 2,000,000). 

Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso’s Figure (above) ( 1930 , estimate: £3,000,000 - 5,000,000) is from a series of oil paintings the artist created during his so - called ‘bone period’ . Depicting totemic, monumental female figures towering against a pale blue sky, these works illustrate the artist’s fascination in fusing organic material with a sense of architectural form and structure during this period. The highly sculptural, skeletal - like figure was created in direct response to the monumental seated bather from his 1930 composition Baigneuse (above), now in the Museum of Modern Art. The present work deconstructs form in a manner that goes beyond the cubist idiom which dominated Picasso’s pre - war works . 

Max Ernst 

Artwork by Max Ernst, Les invités du dimanche, Made of oil on canvas

Max Ernst’s Les invités du dimanche (The Sunday Guests) (1924, estimate: £2,000,000 - 3,000,000) is one of a small number of Dada paintings in which the artist first attempted to move beyond the inspiration of the metaphysical paintings of Carrà and de Chirico and his own experimental work with collag e . In this work, Ernst made use of a series of printed images of women’s hairstyles as the prompt for the creation of a sequence of bizarre and haunting figurative personages. He was also inspired at this time by the kind of eroto-mechanics of Duchamp and Picabia’s machine pictures and deeply interested in alchemy and in alchemical illust ration. 

This work also appears to be highly auto - biographical, perhaps alluding to the ménage à trois that existed between Ernst, Paul and Gala Éluard in that period. 

Joan Miró 

Painting by JOAN MIRO

Joan Miró’s Painting (1925/1964, estimate: £2,000,000 - 3,000,000) dates from the early stages of the artist’s remarkable series of ‘oneiric’ or ‘dream’ pictures, where Miró’s radically simplified compositions succeeded in moving beyond pictorial conventions of illusionistic representation and resemblance. Almost forty years after its creation, Miró added several new characters and details to the composition, having encountered the painting again at the home of his friend and early biographer, the artist Roland Penrose. 

Paul Delvaux 

The Sabbath, 1962 - Paul Delvaux 

Le Sabbat (The Sabbath) by Paul Delvaux (1962, estimate: £1,500,000 - 2,500,000), one of the most important paintings from the second half of the artist’s career, is being offered by the artist’s family. In many ways Delvaux’s Le Sabbat can be seen as a painterly invocation of the night, the subject that had preoccupied the artist and sustained the mysteries of his art from the 1930s onwards. Delvaux takes the traditional North European subject of Walpurgi snacht or the Witches’ Sabbath and transforms it into a strangely erotic and rather genteel midnight garden party taking place near a railway junction in a suburb of Brussels. 

Further artists representing the range of the movement include Wifredo Lam, who developed a style that was a synthesis of Cubism, Surrealism, and Afro - Cuban sources. Painted in 1944, Sans Titre (estimate: £300,000 - 500,000) boldly depicts this evolution within the artist’s oeuvre. 

Morphologie psychologique de l'angoisse (La veille de la mort) by ROBERTO MATTA

Morphologie Psychologique de l’angoisse (La veille de la mort) (1938, estimate: £700,000 - 900,000) is among the very first of Roberto Matta’s 'psychological morphologies', a seminal series that he began in the summer of 1938. 

Dating from the final months of André Masson’s acclaimed Spanish period,  

 Andre Masson-Corrida Mythologique-1936

Corrida mythologique (1936, estimate: £800,000 - 1,200,000) stands as a highly dramatic, personal reflection of the intense anxiety the artist felt regarding the Spanish Civil War. 

The sale also includes works by Salvador Dalí, Oscar Do ínguez, Roland Penrose  and Yves Tanguy.  


Francis Picabia (1879-1953), Iris

Francis Picabia, Iris , gouache on panel, 1929 , estimate: £800,000 - 1,200,000 

Artwork by Pablo Picasso, Le cirque, Made of oil on canvas

 Picasso , Le cirque, oil on canvas, 1933 , 

Artwork by Paul Klee, Weibsteufel, die Welt beherrschend. (She-Devil, Dominating the World), Made of watercolour and oil transfer drawing on paper laid down on the artist's mount

Paul Klee , Weibsteufel, die Welt beherrschend. (She - Devil, Dominating the World) , watercolour and oil transfer drawing on paper laid down on the artist’s mount , 1921 , estimate: £200,000 - 3 00,000

Artwork by Joan Miró, Tête d’homme, Made of oil on canvas

Joan Miró , Tête d’homme , oil on canvas, 1931 , estimate: £700,000 - 1,000,000

Giorgio de Chirico, Testa di manichino 

Giorgio de Chirico , Testa di manichino , oil on canvas , 1916 - 17 , estimate: £800,000 - 1,200,000