Rene Magritte's L'explication to see $9m with Sotheby's?

Sotheby's will offer Rene Magritte's L'explication as one of the highlights of its Surrealist Art Evening Sale on February 3 in London.

Magritte carrot bottle
This is the largest of four variations of the subject that Magritte painted



The auction house has held standalone sales for surrealist art for 15 years, and continues to set records, such as the £7.9m ($11.9m) achieved by Magritte's Le beau monde in February 2014.

L'explication, a 1952 composition typical of Magritte's style and one he revisited on several occasions, is expected to sell for £4m-6m ($6m-9m). This is the largest of the four variations on the subject, with another selling at Christie's in 2012 for £937,250 ($1.4m).

The piece is joined by Yves Tanguy's Deux fois du noir (Twice Black), valued at £2m-3m ($3m-4.5m). According to Sotheby's, the work "exemplifies the refined and personal language with which Tanguy transformed the boundaries of modernist painting".

Tanguy became a member of the surrealist group in 1925, having been invited by poet and writer Andre Breton. Within two years he became one of the most accomplished painters in the group, with his forms described by the auction house as "unique in the canon of surrealist art, amorphous yet somehow recognisable to the viewer."

Both works come from private European collections, and will be exhibited in Sotheby's Hong Kong gallery from 9-12 January, as well as in New York on January 21-23.

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