Rene Magritte Leads Christie's $75.12m 'The Art of the Surreal Evening Sale' in London

3 min read  ·  07 Mar 2024

L'ami intime by Rene Magritte sold for $42.87m.
Image courtesy of Christie's

L'ami intime by Rene Magritte sold for $42.87m. Image courtesy of Christie's

A work by Rene Magritte, which had a guarantee, was the headline sale at Christie's 'The Art of the Surreal Evening Sale' on March 7 in London.

  • The sale totaled $75.12m, meeting the pre-sale estimate.

Snapshot of the sale

  • 22 works sold totaling $75.12m.
  • Estimates totaled: $60.79m (low) and $96.4m (high), excluding premiums.
  • The sell-through rate was 88% of the original 25 lots announced.

The star lot was: Rene Magritte, L'ami intime (1958), which sold for $42.87m, 12% above its $37.98m low estimate. The work was backed by a guarantee. It has been traded 5 times in the past.

The outperformer sold for 400% above its low estimate. Meret Oppenheim, Tisch mit Vogelfüssen (1939), sold for $674,000 ($126,600 low estimate). It has been traded once in the past.

Breakdown of results against auction house estimates that are disclosed

Breakdown of results against auction house estimates that are disclosed

  • 11 works, or 50%, sold above their high estimate.
  • 9 works, or 41%, sold within their low and high estimate.
  • 2 works, or 9%, sold below their low estimate.
  • 0 sold with undisclosed estimates.

Guaranteed sales

5 works were backed by guarantees, including: Rene Magritte, L'ami intime (1958). It sold for $42.87m, 12% above its $37.98m low estimate.. It has been traded 5 times in the past.

Works that did not sell

3 works were bought-in, including: Man Ray, Portrait (Patti Cadby Birch) (1942), estimated at $443,100 (low) to $696,200 (high). It has been traded once in the past.

Withdrawn before the sale

0 works were withdrawn

Terms and definitions

All results include the fees and premiums added to the price of a work of art when the auctioneer's hammer falls. Sale prices are compared to the auction house’s low estimate, which do not include premiums.

Guarantees: Sometimes an auction house guarantees to pay a seller for a work, regardless of whether the bidding reaches the reserve price, a figure that is typically confidential.

Bought-in: If there are no bids for a work, or if bidding falls short of the reserve price, the lot is unsold or “bought-in”.

Withdrawn: This happens when a seller decides, for whatever reason, to withdraw a work before the bidding begins.

Premiums: Typically a sliding-scale of charges paid in addition to the hammer price by the buyer, plus any other fees.