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HomeArts & CultureMysterious Magritte Painting Could Fetch $63M at Auction

Mysterious Magritte Painting Could Fetch $63M at Auction

René Magritte, “L’ami intime (The Intimate Friend)” (1958), oil on canvas, 28.5/8 x 25.1/2 inches (image courtesy of the Gilbert and Lena Kaplan Collection and Christie’s London)

In a celebration of the centenary of the artistic and literary movement generated by André Breton Surrealist manifesto (1924), Christie’s London will host its The Art of the Surrealist evening sale on March 7 with a featured piece that has not been shown since 1998. After more than 40 years in a private collection, “L’ami intime () del Belgian surrealist René Magritte (The Intimate Friend)” (1958) is emerging on the market with a high estimate of £50 million (~$37.8 million to $63 million).

Magritte, possibly best known for his iconic artwork “The Treachery of Images (This is Not a Pipe)” (1929), frequently presented ordinary objects in unusual contexts in dreamlike compositions that evoked feelings of serenity and discomfort. Aside from the pipe image, Magritte is remembered for his emphasis on the anonymity and darkness of the figures, as well as on levitating objects. In “L’ami intime (The Intimate Friend),” one of the painter’s favorite motifs, a man in a bowler hat looks over a stone ledge at a mountainous landscape and a cloudy sky while a glass of water and a baguette They float in the middle. air behind him, positioned as if they were sitting on a table.

The man in the bowler hat made his first appearance in Magritte’s office some 32 years earlier in “Les rêveries du promeneur solitaire (The Reflections of a Solitary Walker)” (1926), facing a shadowy landscape while a male body floats behind him . The capped figure functions as a bland substitute for the common man.

“The bowler… represents no surprise,” Magritte said in 1966 after depicting him more than 50 times in his work. “It is a headdress that is not original. The man in the bowler hat is nothing more than a middle-class man in his anonymity. And he used it. “I am not anxious to single myself out.”

In a press release, Christie’s vice president of modern and impressionist art, Olivier Camu, described “L’ami intime (The Intimate Friend)” as “extremely poetic, silent and mysterious, especially given the unknown identity of the sitter and its evocative title”. .”

“L’ami intime (The Intimate Friend)” has been in the collection of Gilbert and Lena Kaplan since 1980 and is the only work by the family offered in the Art of Surrealism sale. The painting, along with the other included works, will be on display in a pre-sale exhibition at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan until February 14 before being auctioned at Christie’s in London in March.

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