Paul Delvaux's Le Miroir makes $10m in surrealist art sale

Paul Delvaux's Le Miroir (1936) led a February 3 auction of surrealist art at Sotheby's London with a final bid of £7.3m ($10.1m).

This represents a new world record for Delvaux's work.

Paul Delvaux Miroir
Paul Delvaux was a Belgian surrealist painter

Delvaux was a Belgian artist associated with the surrealist movement. During the 1930s he fell under the influence of Giorgio de Chirico, the acclaimed metaphysical artist - leading to a change in style.

The painting depicts a woman staring at an altered version of herself in a mirror.

Critic Barbara Emerson comments: "Is this how she sees herself and in more pleasant surroundings? It is also possible that she is looking at a portrait of herself.

"Whatever, the nude woman is associated with nature and beauty; the dressed woman is denature."

Delvaux's price point is slightly lower than contemporaries like Rene Magritte, but his work is growing in popularity.  

Francis Picabia's Ventilateur (circa 1918) also sold well, realising £2.3m ($3.4m).

It's part of a series of works depicting machinery, examples of which rarely come up for auction.

Picabia explained the idea behind the work: "The machine has become something more than a mere appendix to life. It has come to form an authentic part of human existence..., perhaps its soul.

"In my search for forms to interpret ideas through which certain human characteristics may reveal themselves, I have finally discovered the form that seems to me, from the plastic point of view, the most convincing and the most symbolic."

Christie's surrealist sale on February 2 resulted in a £7.6m ($10.9m) sale price for Max Ernst's The Stolen Mirror.

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