The Art of the Surreal at Christie’s

Marking 100 years since the birth of Salvador Dali, Christie’s fourth annual sale dedicated to The Art of the Surreal took place last night. The sale was highlighted by one of the artist’s ’white paintings’, L’echo du vide (The Echo of the Void), painted in 1935 and inspired by the coastal landscape around Cadaques, where the artist grew up. The work incorporates several of the most recurring themes of Dali’s art in those years, blending them into a semi-abstract image of a netherworld in which a lone figure walks across a landscape dominated by a cypress tree, an archetypal Mediterranean symbol of death. Another magnificent work was Rene Magritte’s Le retour, a gouache on paper executed in 1950, depicting a bird painted sky blue with clouds above a night-time seascape. Although the sky-bird was not used extensively in Magritte’s work, the image is immediately associated with the artist.

Max Ernst was represented with a number of works, including a 1940 oil, La fuite and Portrait of a girl with Mexican earrings painted circa 1946. Both works feature a process that Ernst called decalcomania, which involved applying paint to the canvas with a large flat surface, often glass, to produce strange and suggestive shapes, which were then slowly hewn into the final image.

Further highlights included Andre Masson’s Figure ou personnage animal, a rare and important work dating from the key period of Masson’s involvement with the Surrealist movement; Hans Arp’s Configuration (Placee suivant la loi du hasard), executed in 1932 and one of the finest of the wood reliefs that Arp made in the late 1920s/early 1930s; Yves Tanguy’s Sans titre; Joan Miro’s Peinture sur fond blanc; and many more.

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Published in: on February 4, 2004 at 1:18 am  Leave a Comment  
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