Surrealist Artist Magritte’s $ 10.4 Million Painting Tops Paris Auctions | Auction news | THE VALUE


Sotheby’s Paris will soon be in the spotlight with its modernity sale on October 26. It is part of the Paris Arts Week, which will see a series of sales and exhibitions continue through October 28.

Belgian surrealist artist René Magritte The art of conversation painting is the main lot. It is estimated between 9 and 12 million euros (approximately 10.4 to 13.9 million dollars). The painting will be sold alongside flagship lots from various masters of modern art, including Kurt Schwittzer, Zao Wou-ki and Rembrandt Bugatti.

This Parisian sale follows the success of the auctions in Hong Kong and London earlier this month. Sotheby’s Hong Kong recorded record Asian prices for masterpieces by Picasso and Vincent van Gogh, while Sotheby’s London saw Banksy’s self-destructive works of art set an auction record for the mysterious graffiti artist.

René Magritte | The art of conversation, oil on canvas

Established in 1950
48.4 x 60.2 cm

  • Alexander Iolas, Paris (recorded by the artist from January 1951 to August 1952)
  • René Magritte, Belgium (from August 1952 to February 1958)
  • Harry Torczyner, New York (acquired from the artist in February 1958)
  • Peter de Maerel, New York (acquired from the above)
  • Private collection, Philadelphia (in 1993)
  • Private collection, Antwerp
  • Private collection, Brussels (acquired from above)

Estimate: € 9,000,000 – € 12,000,000 (approximately $ 10.4 to 13.9 million)


Ren̩ Magritte was an artist of Belgian origin, known for his surreal and stimulating masterpieces. Magritte reinvented painting as a critical tool that could challenge perception and engage the mind of the viewer. He used a method to separate objects from their names, revealing that language was a device Рfull of pitfalls and uncertainties.

This painting has toured the world and once belonged to the influential Greek collector Alexander Iolas. He has represented Magritte and the surrealist art movement in his galleries around the world in cities such as Paris, New York and Milan.

Renowned Greek collector, Alexander Iolas

Iconic art collectors, John and Dominique de Menil

The Greek collector also opened the doors of the American market to the Belgian artist – in particular to the eminent Franco-American collectors of modern art, John and Dominique de Menil.

Magritte’s works were part of around 17,000 items in the Menil collection. Ranging from ancient works of art to contemporary works, the Collection is considered one of the most important private collections of the 20th century.


The Conversation art is a collage of two night visions that meet to form the word Love. It is the artist’s declaration of love for all kinds of signs (the word sign here being the phonetic equivalent of the French of cygne (cygne) which he has to paint the visible world and reveal the invisible.

René Magritte | L’Ingénue, Oil on canvas

Established in 1945

  • Robert De Keyn, Brussels
  • From there by descent to the current owner

Estimate: 3,500,000 – 5,500,000 € (approximately $ 4-6.4 million)


The Ingenuous belonged to the famous Belgian collector, Robert de Keyn, and his family from 1945 until today.

De Keyn bought The Ingenuous and Happy Life in 1945 in Brussels’ Gallery of Editions de la Boétie. The Gallery was a major surrealist exhibition curated by Magritte himself. These paintings purchases underscored Keyn’s strong support for the artist.

René’s wife, Georgette


The Second World War was an intense period of rapprochement for the Magritte couple. The two figures almost broke up shortly before the invasion of Brussels in May 1940 due to infidelities on both sides.

The nude woman in the painting is modeled on Georgette, the artist’s wife and muse. He was one of a series of nudes that became a manifesto of rekindled love between the couple.

The Ingenuous represents this search for love and sensuality. Georgette is represented by a tight but sensual brushstroke that places the artist at the top of Magritte’s technical and pictorial mastery. While the velvet of her skin calls to touch, her closed eyes echo the intimate interiority of love. Georgette is represented with a red rose, further symbolizing gentleness, tenderness and romantic love.

Other flagship lots:

Kurt Schwitter | Ohne Titel (Dein Treufrischer) (Untitled, Yours Treusfrischer) | Assembly, oil, paper, metal, cotton and button on nailed board, in its original artist frame

Established in 1921
38.2 x 30.8 cm

  • Raoul Hausmann, Berlin (around 1921, probably donated by the artist)
  • Berggruen Gallery, Paris (before 1952)
  • Sidney Janis Gallery, New York (1952)
  • Joseph Randall Shapiro, Chicago (until 1971)
  • Tarica Gallery, Paris (1971-73)
  • Private collection, Paris (around 1973)
  • Linda Hyman Fine Arts, New York (about 1995)
  • Pace Wildenstein, New York (1995, commission)
  • Gallery 623, Paris
  • Acquired from it by the current owner about 1995-96

Estimate: 2,500,000 to 3,500,000 € (approximately 2.9 to 4 million US dollars)

Zao Wou-ki | 2.6.1961, Oil on canvas

Established in 1961

  • Kootz Gallery, New York
  • Private collection
  • Christie’s, Hong Kong, 20th century Chinese art, April 25, 2004, Lot 721
  • Private collection
  • Poly International Auction Co., Ltd., June 4, 2019, Lot 4515
  • Private collection, Asia

Estimate: € 2,000,000 to € 3,000,000 (approximately US $ 2.3 to 3.5 million)

Rembrandt Bugatti | Hippopotamus Yawning, Bronze

Designed around 1905
Height: 36cm

  • Joseph Reinach, Paris
  • Alain Lesieutre, Paris
  • Acquired from it by the current owner in 1964

Estimate: 1,500,000 – 2,000,000 € (approximately 1.7 to 2.3 million US dollars)

René Magritte | The love perspective, Gouache on paper

Created in 1936
32.8 x 22.3 cm

  • Private collection (acquired directly from the artist and sold: Sotheby’s, London, April 22, 1971, Lot 72)
  • Paul Stooshnoff (acquired in the above sale)
  • Gissi Gallery, Turin
  • Private collection, Italy (acquired from above about 1975 and sold: Sotheby’s, London, February 28, 2018, Lot 44)
  • Acquired at the above sale by the current owner

Estimate: € 1,400,000 – € 1,800,000 (approximately $ 1.6-2.1 million)

Auction Details:

Auction house: Sotheby’s Paris

Date and time: October 26, 2021 | 6 p.m. (local Paris time)

Sale: Modernites, as part of Paris Art Week

Number of lots: 35

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