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  • Posts Tagged ‘RENE MAGRITTE’


    Monday, February 5th, 2024
    René Magritte –  L’ami intime (The Intimate Friend) (1958) (£30,000,000-50,000,000)

    René Magritte’s L’ami intime (The Intimate Friend) will highlight Christie’s Art of the Surreal evening sale in London on March 7. Presented to coincide with the centenary of the Surrealist Manifesto, penned by André Breton in October 1924, the painting comes to auction for the first time since 1980. Depicting the enigmatic bowler-hatted man, Magritte’s ‘everyman’, L’ami intime (The Intimate Friend) is property from the Gilbert and Lena Kaplan Collection and was last exhibited in Brussels at the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique in 1998. The estimate is £30-£50 million.

    Gilbert Kaplan was a pioneering entrepreneur who founded Institutional Investor in 1967 at the age of 25. He was also a renowned cultural connoisseur. Having established and built a commercially successful company, he celebrated its 15th anniversary, together with his own 40th birthday, by conducting Gustav Mahler’s Second Symphony, the Resurrection Symphony, at the Lincoln Center in New York. The debut was well received and following the sale of Institutional Investor, he went on to conduct the symphony around the world, lecturing and teaching at Juilliard. Reflecting his lifelong passion, he had a radio show on WQXR called ‘Mad About Music’. Two of the men close to Gilbert Kaplan’s heart were Gustav Mahler and René Magritte. Kaplan served on the Board of Carnegie Hall for more than 30 years and set up a fellowship programme at Harvard’s Music Department, which continues to support students today.

    The figure of a man in a bowler-hat made his first appearance in Magritte’s work in the 1926 painting Les rêveries du promeneur solitaire (The Musings of a Solitary Wanderer). The figure came to function within Magritte’s oeuvre as a symbol of the bourgeois, of the anonymous, faceless masses, the everyday working man and that of the lone wanderer. In L’ami intime (The Intimate Friend) the distinctly ordinary, yet also mysteriously anonymous bowler-hatted man is seen, almost like a silhouette, from behind. Gazing out the window onto a serene, mountainous landscape and a cloud-filled sky, he appears oblivious to the strange sight of a baguette and wine glass floating in mid-air behind him.  


    Saturday, April 29th, 2023
    Haze Days by  Yoshitomo Nara at Sotheby’s. THIS WAS UNSOLD

    The explosion of creativity in the art world in the first two decades of the 20th century has not been matched in the 21st. and it is interesting to speculate about why. A century ago the world was newly enriched by Post-Impressionism, Cubism, Abstraction, Suprematism and the rest.  In the global village of today,  development of the shock of the new in art does not seem to have occurred at the hectic pace of technology and other groundbreaking disciplines.  Are artists stupefied by the pace of change in the world all around them? In a world where wonder is taken for granted is visual surprise and delight degraded?

    Geniuses like David Hockney have demonstrated the infinite possibilities of digital art but it is not as yet a significant art market sector.  It looks as if NFT’s have gone the way of cryptocurrency for now. The most innovative market focus is on overlooked women artists, non western art, ethnic, tribal and minority groups but art needs innovation, not political correctness. The impressive selection of Impressionist, Modern, Post-Modern and Contemporary art will come under the hammer at the big New York spring sales in May are mostly of the 20th century. Highly significant art from major collections like Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen,  legendary Condé Nast co owner S.I. Newhouse and Warner Bros. Records executive Mo Ostin, among whose signings were The Kinks, Jimi Hendrix, Prince, Joni Mitchell, R.E.M. and Madonna, will boost these sales.

    L’Empire des Lumieres by Rene Magritte from the Mo Ostin collection at Sotheby’s. UPDATE: THIS MADE$42,273,000

    All the big names, from Picasso, Matisse and Magritte to Georgia O’Keeffe, David Hockney, Yayoi Kusama and Jean Michel Basquiat are here along with less well known but seriously doing well relative newcomers like Wayne Thiebaud and Yoshitomo Nara. But the art of today, which both auction houses have been busily promoting, is represented by just 51 lots, 27 at the 21st Century evening sale at Christie’s on May 15 and 24 at the Now evening sale at Sotheby’s on May 18.

    Pumpkin by Yayoi Kusama at Christie’s. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $4,890,000

    The Christie’s auction will be headed up by a Basquiat (born in 1960, died in 1986). There is a pumpkin by Yayoi Kusama (born in 1929), a box of ten photographs by Diane Arbus (1923-1971), a take on a Velazquez painting by Jeff Koons (born 1955), Prophet by El Anatsui (born 1944) and Untitled (We will no longer be your favourite disappearing act) by Barbara Kruger (born 1945).  Art in this sale by Cecily Brown, Rashid Johnson, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye and other younger artists like Vojtek Kovarik and Louis Fratino (both born in 1993) will definitely reward serious study but seems rooted in the 20th century. A powerful 1998 work by Yoshito Nara titled Haze Days will highlight the Now auction at Sotheby’s. This monumental rendering of a bandaged child – furious, foreboding and wonderfully appealing – embodies the contradictions of our culture and ourselves. The eyes have it and it is no surprise that these angst laden paintings sell for many millions of dollars.  There is arresting art by Simone Leigh, Jonas Wood, Matthew Wong, Julien Nguyen, Mark Grotjahn, Kerry James Marshall, Mark Bradford, Rudolf Stingel and other names that might not yet be so well known.  With this sale Sotheby’s has set out to offer heightened visibility and a relevant art historical context for a new generation of younger artists but it is the artists themselves who need to forge new paths.

    Burning gas station by Ed Ruscha at Christie’s. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $22,260,000


    Sunday, February 12th, 2023
    René Magritte, Le retour (circa 1950 UPDATE: THIS MADE £6,129,000

    Painted around 1950 Magritte’s dove of peace remains a powerful image for our times.  There is plenty of confidence at Christie’s that his striking work titled Le Retour will spark universal interest at its Art of the Surreal sale in London on February 28. Over the course of his career Magritte became adept at converting his vision of the mysteries of the world into pictures that, through icon like simplicity, conveyed their messages in ways that are more striking.The bird is one of his poetic motifs. It first emerged in 1940. Le retour offers a dream like variation. The surrounding seascape is bathed in soft light from an overcast sky.  Night is replaced by day in the body of the bird. Oliver Camu of Christie’s described this painting as a dreamscape offering a universal symbol of hope, He is confident it will whet a growing global appetite for Magritte.


    Tuesday, November 12th, 2019

    Le Seize Septembre by Rene Magritte was the top lot at Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art evening sale in New York last night. It was $19.6 million in an auction which totalled $191.9 million. Buyers participated from 31 countries across five contintents.

    Unique Forms of Continuity in Space by Umberto Boccioni made $16.1 million, an artist record. Femme dans un fauteuil by Picasso made $13.3 million and Jardin et poulailler chez Octave Mirbeau, Les Damps, by Camille Pissarro made $10,2 million.

    Rene Magritte – Le seize Septembre


    Tuesday, November 13th, 2018

    Rene Magritte – Le Principe du Plaisir (The Pleasure Principle)

    There was a new work record for Rene Magritte at Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art sale in New York last night.  The record breaking portrait of his patron Edward James – a surrealist masterpiece called Le Principe du Plaisir (The Pleasure Principle) – made $26.8 million after a seven way bidding battle.  The auction brought in a total of $315.4 million.

    Egon Schiele’s 1913 Townscape Dämmernde Stadt (Die Kleine Stadt II) made $24.6 million, Oskar Kokoschka’s portrait ofJoseph De Montesquiou-Fezensac made $20.4 million (five time the artist’s previous record) and Ludwig Kirchner’s Psychologically Gripping Das Soldatenbad (Artillerymen) made $22 Million. A private collection of Fauve, Expressionist and Modern works totalled $111 million led by three Kandinsky paintings which each sold for over $20 million.

    August Uribe, Head of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Department in New York, commented“Tonight we witnessed a healthy and intelligent market responding with enthusiasm to a sale unlike any we have assembled in recent memory.  The offering was characterised by originality as well as rarity, bringing together the best examples remaining in private hands by artists not typically seen at auction, alongside important works by the leading Modernists. Bidding was truly global, evenly split between the US, Europe and Asia, which is a combination needed to drive a $300+ million total.”


    Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

    René Magritte – La corde sensible

    The Art of the Surreal sale at Christie’s in London on February 28 will include 35 lots that chart the history of Dada and Surrealism. Highlights include René Magritte’s La code sensible, 1960 (£14-18 million), one of the largest oils he created, alongside his painting Le domaine d’Arnheim 1938 (£6.5-8.5 million). A group of seven works by Max Ernst include Portrait érotique voilé (1933 and circa 19500)(£1.5-2.5 million), offered by the artist’s family, and Les deux oiseaux 1925 (£100,000-150,000) from the personal collection of Barbara Lambrecht, sold to benefit the Rubens Prize Collection in the Museum of Contemporary Art at Siegen in Germany.

    René Magritte’s La corde sensible, a composition unique in his oeuvre, exemplifies the artist’s lifelong quest to reveal and revel in the mystery that he perceived to exist within the real world. Magritte originally presented it as a gift to his wife, Georgette. Later owned by Ronald Winston, the son of the world-renowned jeweller, Harry Winston, the painting has remained in the same private collection since 1990. Situated under a blue sky, amidst a verdant green landscape with a mountain range in the distance, an enormous crystal glass stands incongruously in the middle of the valley. Hovering just above it is a cloud, the weightless form meeting the solid glass creating a compelling contrast between lightness and weight, transparency and opacity, atmosphere and earth.