As the wider Impressionist and modern market slowly withers on the auction vine — the victim of a paucity of first-rate material — the international market for Surrealism has started to sizzle.
“Surrealist art used to be reserved for the happy few,” says Olivier Camu, deputy chairman of Christie’s Impressionist and Modern art, who initiated the “Art of the Surreal” sale category in February 2001 in London. On that occasion the works were segregated from the rest of the modern fare in a carefully staged pre-auction display, and a separate catalogue was prepared, two practices that have continued. “I felt it was an area of art history that was undervalued and underappreciated,” explains Camu. “A few pro collectors and pro dealers were the only ones focusing on it. I thought it was a very interesting [movement] to resuscitate.”
In the past 18 months, Surrealist records have fallen like dominoes, as Miró’s “Peinture (Etoile bleue),” 1927, fetched $36.9 million at Sotheby’s London in June; Man Ray’s late oil “Image à deux faces,” 1959, made $3 million at Sotheby’s Paris in May; Ernst’s “Stolen Mirror,” 1941, soared to $16.3 million at Christie’s New York in November 2011; and Dalí’s 1929 portrait of the Surrealist poet and early art dealer Paul Eluard realized $21.7 million in a single-owner sale at Sotheby’s London in February 2011 — at the time the highest price ever paid for a Surrealist work at auction.
Read full article: BLOUIN Artinfo- Dreams for Sale: Why Today’s Collectors Are in Hot Pursuit of Surrealist Art