Magritte's Les jours gigantesques up 380.6% on estimate

Rene Magritte's Les jours gigantesques sold for £7.2m at Christie's Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale in London last night.

In doing so it became the second highest selling work by the Belgian artist at auction, despite a repaired tear, and will spark a dramatic re-evaluation of the desirability of his work, and the Surrealists in general.

Magriite Les Jours Gigantesques
Magritte’s £7.2m Les jours gigantesques


That's because the 1928 piece, which depicts a naked woman being attacked by a man, beat its £1.5m estimate by 380.6%.

The auction comes a day after Sotheby's own Impressionist and Modern offering, which saw Spanish Surrealist Joan Miró's Peinture (Etoile Bleue) make a world record for the artist of £23.6m.

Jay Vincze, Christie's international director and head of the sale, commented: "Quality, rarity and considered pricing were key to the successful results of this evening's sale.

"There were particularly notable prices for Surrealist works, reflecting the current fervour for this field".

It was the first time the piece had appeared at auction for more than 60 years and is one of just two known examples of the work; the other resides at a museum in Dusseldorf, Germany - both important factors in boosting its desirability.

The work's new owner is US billionaire Wilbur Ross.

Elsewhere, Pierre-Auguste Renoir's much-anticipated Baigneuse sold in a private deal within its £12m-18m estimate prior to the auction, while the top lot of the sale went to Pablo Picasso's 1949 work Femme assise, which sold comfortably above the £7.5m estimate for £8.6m.

The auction also starred Pablo Picasso's 1962 piece Femme au chien. Last seen in public in 1973, the depiction of Picasso's second wife, Jacqueline Roque, and Picasso's Afghan hound sold within estimate for £6.9m.

Those looking to capitalise on the enduring popularity of Picasso can purchase a superb autograph of the artist today.

Meanwhile there were new records for Giorgio Morandi and Kurt Schwitters, whose pieces sold for £1.4m and £145,250, respectively.



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