Salvador Dali Lobster Telephone beats estimate by 240%

A white Salvador Dali Lobster Telephone realised £845,000 ($1m) at Christie's on December 15.

It beat its £250,000 ($307,360) estimate by 240%.

Salvador Dali produced two variants of the Lobster Telephone

While the piece is one of Dali's most celebrated works, examples rarely appear at auction.

The piece is one of six known specimens in off-white (five more colour varieties also exist). Most of these are held by top museums.

Dali explained the work in his own inimitable way: I do not understand why, when I ask for a grilled lobster in a restaurant, I am never served a cooked telephone; I do not understand why champagne is always chilled and why on the other hand telephones, which are habitually so frightfully warm and disagreeably sticky to the touch, are not also put in silver buckets with crushed ice around them."

The piece headlined an auction of pieces from the collection of Edward James, one of Dali's most prominent patrons and a passionate collector of surrealist art.

During the 1930s Dali experienced a series of financial setbacks. James stepped in, offering him a monthly salary in return for all the works he created.

He also received five Mae West's Lips sofas during the duration of this arrangement, one of which was included in the auction.

It made £725,000 ($908,425), up 81.2% on its £400,000 ($502,800) valuation.

The sale also included a large number of works from the great Russian surrealist Pavel Tchelitchew.

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