Massive Magritte Marks Surreal Sale

London -- Christie’s highly anticipated annual evening auction 'The Art of The Surreal' will take place on 4 February, 2014, presenting some of the most remarkable works ever to be offered for sale in this category.

Art collectors of Art Kabinett social media network will see some of the world's most important surreal artworks at this auction.

The sale is led by the most important early Magritte to come to auction in a generation, 'Les chasseurs au bord de la nuit' (The hunters at the edge of night), shown here, which has recently been part of the Museum of Modern Art’s 2013 exhibition 'Magritte, The Mystery of The Ordinary: 1926-1938.'

A very large canvas, the work was painted in 1928 and carries an estimate of £6-9 million.

Comprising 54 museum-coveted lots, the entire sale features works from many important international collections including: Femmes et oiseaux (Women and Birds), 1968 (estimate: £4-7 million), offered from Miró – Seven Decades of His Art; the most significant work by Carlo Carrà to come to auction, Solitudine (Solitude) (estimate: £2.5-3.5 million), offered from Modern Masters: Works from an Important Private Swiss Collection; and Le regard intérieur (The inner gaze) by René Magritte (estimate: £500,000-700,000) offered from The Collection of the Late Mrs T. S. Elliot.

The entire event comprises a rich and varied sale which is tailored to meet the current tastes of the ever growing number of global collectors of 20th century art.

'La Vénus endormie', 1943, by Paul Delvaux (estimate: £1.2-1.6 million) is offered alongside other notable works by De Chirico, Dalí, Domínguez, Ernst, Arshile Gorky, Man Ray, Tanguy and Dorothea Tanning.

Catalog entries for the evening sale range from £40,000 to £9 million, with an overall pre-sale estimate of £42,960,000 to £64,550,000.

Historical Painting

'Les chasseurs au bord de la nuit' was painted in the most fruitful year of Magritte’s entire career, during the time that Magritte was based in Paris in order to be closer to the Surrealist group around André Breton.

It is a reflection of the importance of Magritte’s early Surreal works that so many of them are now in museum collections around the world.

Of the pictures that Magritte painted in 1928, only around one fifth were painted on the large scale of 'Les chasseurs au bord de la nuit,' which was done in the largest format of canvas that he used that year, indicating his appreciation of the importance of its subject.

It has been suggested that the atmosphere of this work may owe itself to the works of Edgar Allen Poe. Magritte devoured his writings, not least in the famous translation by Charles Baudelaire, and several of his pictures appear to make references to them.

In 'Les chasseurs au bord de la nuit,' the walls may recall those in The Pit and the Pendulum, a short story at the end of which hot walls are enclosing the protagonist, approaching ever closer. The sense of tension in this work is accentuated by the bulkiness of the figures, adding a sheer physicality to their efforts to free themselves.