Dali's fruit watercolour studies realise $1.1m at Bonhams

A series of 14 watercolour studies of fruit by surrealist Salvador Dali dominated sales at Bonhams' Impressionist and Modern Art auction in London.

The entire collection sold for a combined £726,700 ($1.1m) in the June 18 sale, with Hasty Plum (Prunier hatif) leading bids at £91,250 ($142,944).

The works have rarely been seen in public, with their last outing at a German exhibition in 2001. They were commissioned from Dali in 1969 by German publisher Jean Schneider, and have had just one other owner since.

Of course, these are not simply ordinary studies of fruit, but are instead injected with the surreal mischievousness for which Dali is renowned.

Many take on anthropomorphic and sexual qualities, such as Erotic Grapefruit, which sees the fruit showering leaves with its juice.

"These beautifully fresh images show Dali enjoying himself, poking fun at the demons and fairies lurking behind the straight-laced images of the 19th century science," commented Bonhams' director of impressionist art, William O'Reilly.

However, despite the runaway success of Hasty Plum, he could not beat the price seen by Auguste Rodin's The Kiss, fourth reduction or small model, which sold for £175,250 ($274,531).

The Kiss Rodin
The Kiss sits across from Rodin's The Thinker in his monumental Gates of Hell

A truly iconic sculpture, The Kiss is first seen on Rodin's famous The Gates of Hell and represents the wretched lovers Paolo and Francesa, whom Dante meets in his Inferno.

Paul Fraser Collectibles has a spectacular selection of art for sale.

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