Modern, surrealist art auction aims to fetch $100M

Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — Two dozen modern and surrealist art works amassed by a private collector, including important paintings by Joan Miro and Rene Magritte, are expected to fetch at least 64 million pounds ($100 million) when they go on auction in London next year.

The collection, from an anonymous European collector who bought the art over almost half a century ago, contains eight surrealist paintings by Magritte — the most impressive group of the artist’s work to come to the market in recent years. It also includes works by Pablo Picasso, Amedeo Modigliani and Alberto Giacometti.

“Every work was carefully selected. There’s no fluff in here — it’s all hard-hitting quality,” Olivier Camu, a modern art expert at Christie’s auction house told The Associated Press.

The most valuable of the 24 works is a large oil painting on canvas by Miro, estimated to fetch 7 to 9 million pounds ($10.9 million to $14.1 million). The colorful 1953 painting, with a French title that translates as “The bird with the fully spread-out feathers flies toward the silvery tree,” evokes a dream world, with two abstract creatures beneath a moon and stars.

“It’s one of the most extraordinary and beautiful Miros,” Camu said.

Another highlight is Modigliani’s 1918 painting “Les deux filles” (“The two girls”), a rare double portrait of a young woman and a girl that is expected to sell for up to 8 million pounds ($12.5 million). The painting had only been offered at auction once before — it had previously been owned by the same family for over 90 years.

The auction takes place Feb. 4 in London.

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