Paul Delvaux's Le Miroir to headline sale of surrealist art

Paul Delvaux's Le Miroir will highlight a sale of surrealist art at Sotheby's London on February 3.

It's expected to sell for £5.5m-7.5m ($8m-10.9m).

Paul Delvaux Miroir
Paul Delvaux's works often feature mirrors

Delvaux (1897-1994) was a Belgian surrealist. The present lot is a classic example of his enigmatic and uncanny work.

It shows a clothed woman looking at a naked version of herself in a mirror.

The work dates to 1936 and was executed after a change in style, following his exposure to the metaphysical art of Giorgio de Chirico.

Delvaux in turn influenced Rene Magritte, who began to explore the theme of the mirror following a joint exhibition in Belgium.

While less well known than his contemporaries, Delvaux's work has a dedicated following - with pieces regularly achieving sums in the low millions.  

Ventilateur (circa 1918), a rare machine painting by Francis Picabia, is expected to bring £1.8m-2.5m ($2.5m-3.5m).

Picabia explained his fascination with machines thus: "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."

The work was formerly part of the prestigious Maremont collection.

A surrealist sale at Christie's on February 2 will feature Max Ernst's The Stolen Mirror.

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