Magritte’s L’arc de Triomphe up for auction

Magritte’s opera L’arc de Triomphe will be auctioned at Christie’s on July 10, during a streaming event involving four cities.

Christie’s puts Magritte‘s Larc de Triomphe at auction, starting from an estimate that is around 6.5 -9.5 million dollars. The auction will take place on July 10 during the “ONE: A Global Sale of the 20th Century” event, organized by the auction house itself. The sale will take place in streaming and will be divided into four sessions. In particular, it will be one for each landmark of art: Hong Kong, Paris, London, and New York. Participants will be able to purchase Magritte’s work during the London session. That will be the penultimate one, before the final one, which will take place in New York.

L’arc de Triomphe by Magritte

L’arc de Triomphe is a work in which a single tree is depicted on a background of leaves. A typical motif of the artist after the war. Magritte created the work in 1962, and immediately Harry Torczyner bought it. Torczyner was a friend of Magritte and he also promoted the surrealist’s work in America. He published his correspondence with the artist in 1994 with the book Magritte-Torczyner: Letters Between Friends. In addition, in November 1998, the sale of the Torczyner estate brought a total of 14 works by Magritte to auction. Among these, there was also Les valeurs personnelles from 1952, worth 6.5 million dollars, against his estimate between 2.5 and 3.5 million dollars.

L’arc de Triomphe, René Magritte, 1962

The painting L’arc de Triomphe boasts a significant exposure. It was first exhibited at the Palais des Beaux-Arts de Charleroi in 1962. Then, it appeared in the Dada, Surrealism, and Their Heritage exhibition. Later it was at the Museum of Modern Art in Los Angeles and the Art Institute of Chicago in 1968. The merchant Sidney Janis exhibited the work in a personal exhibition dedicated to the artist in December 1977. The work was last on display in 1992 when Christie’s bought it for 1.1 million dollars. Finally, in 2000 it passed into the hands of the current seller.

The importance of Magritte in the art market

The vice-president of the “Impressionism and modern art” section of Christie’s in London, Olivier Camu, explained the title of the work. He said: “The choice of the title suggests that Magritte believed that this composition was a triumph in his quest to answer the problem of how to represent trees, while revealing the mystery of reality.” He then went on to illustrate the importance of Surrealism within the art market.

The Empire of Light II, René Magritte, 1950

In this regard, he said: “The interest in Surrealism has gradually strengthened with the growing influx of buyers, whether they are collectors of modern art due to our attention for the movement, or collectors of contemporary and post-war art. “. The market’s greater interest in Surrealism is confirmed by the new record price reached by the artist. In November 2018, Sotheby’s sold Le principe du Plaisir for $ 26.8 million. His estimate was between $ 15 million and $ 20 million. The sale places the artist among the best-selling modernists currently on the market.

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