• Press release
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  • London
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  • For immediate release
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  • 28 May 2019

The Landscape of a Mind: A Private Collector's Surreal Vision





London – Christie’s will offer The Landscape of a Mind: A Private Collector’s Surreal Vision as a highlight of ‘20th Century at Christie’s’. Over a series of sales, including the Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale on 18 June, and a dedicated sale of Design, Photography, Indian Miniatures, Post-War and Contemporary Art and further Impressionist and Modern Art on 20 June, more than 100 works will be presented. Together, they map the surreal vision of an eclectic collector who cleverly created a dialogue between objects and artworks in the domestic settings they inhabited. The collection is estimated in the region of £15,000,000.

A dedicated interior will be created for the collection in the St James’s galleries at King Street from 13 to 20 June 2019 as part of ‘20th Century at Christie’s’, a series of auctions that will take place from 17 to 26 June 2019.

An important group of 13 Surrealist and Dada works will highlight the Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale on 18 June 2019. Yves Tanguy’s L’Extinction des especes II (1938, estimate: £2,500,000-4,000,000, illustrated above, left) will be offered at auction for the first time and was passed down through the family of Tanguy’s primary dealer (Pierre Matisse) until 2013, when it was acquired by the present owner from the Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation.

Le parc du vautour (1926, estimate: £2,500,000-4,000,000, illustrated above) is an unusually large surrealist landscape, which explores a dream-like scene. Featured in Magritte’s first solo exhibition in 1927, a seminal show which launched his career as a Surrealist, Le parc du vautour will be offered at auction for the first time.

Executed in 1928, René Magritte’s Le palais de rideaux (1928, estimate: £500,000-800,000, illustrated above, centre) is from a pivotal moment in Magritte’s career when the artist was finally able to devote his time to painting full time, after signing up to representation with two galleries.

A further highlight from the collection to be offered in the Evening Sale is Salvador Dalí’s Figure aux tiroirs (1937, estimate: £600,000-900,000, illustrated above, right), which underlines the artist’s obsession with drawers. Having heard the English phrase ‘Chest of Drawers’ for the first time, Dalí was immediately struck by the image of a human being with drawers in his or her ribcage. The drawing has been included in major exhibitions at MoMA, New York, the Centre Pompidou, Paris, Tate, London and the Reina Sofía, Madrid, and ranks amongst the best from that period of the artist’s oeuvre.

Olivier Camu, Deputy Chairman, Impressionist and Modern Art, Christie’s: “This superb and unique collection exudes a strong erotic surrealism, visible in the paintings, drawings, photographs, collages and iconic design. The formidable Mark Tansey was the first purchase, which then led to an appetite for Dada and Surrealism across many different categories and value levels, without any bias but always with great research, wit and an eye for quality. This most eclectic of collections draws us into the fascinating landscape of the mind of this very passionate collector. We are particularly excited to introduce at auction for the first time ever Magritte’s unusually large ‘Le parc du vautour’ of 1926 as well as Yves Tanguy’s ‘L’extinction des especes, II’ of 1938, the best painting by the artist I have seen at auction since the world record setting ‘Les derniers jours’ sold in these rooms in 2005.’

The sales also present an exceptional assemblage of Surrealist photography, led by the work of Man Ray. Included in the Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale is Man Ray’s Untitled, (from Les champs délicieux) (1921-22, estimate: £150,000-200,000), previously in the collection of Tristan Tzara. The auction on 20 June will also include portraits by Man Ray of his close circle of fellow artists: André Breton, Tristan Tzara, Edward James, Pablo Picasso, Lee Miller and Alberto Giacometti as well as photographs by Andy Warhol and Hiroshi Sugimoto.

An instantly recognisable icon of Surrealism, Salvador Dalí’s striking bright red Mae West Lips Sofa (1938, estimate: £400,000-600,000) was the result of a creative collaboration between the artist and the legendary surrealist patron, artist, collector and poet, Edward James. A pioneer in his own right, Marc Newson inaugurated a new aesthetic language for the twenty-first century. Sofa ‘Random Pak Twin’ (2006, estimate: £40,000-60,000) is the result of a sophisticated and meticulous process of fabrication involving 3D modelling, laser sintering and electroforming, usually employed by the military and aerospace industries. Indian Miniatures, celebrating eroticism, complete the selection offered in June. A dedicated wine sale, offering the contents of this fabulous cellar will take place in London on 17 October 2019. This will be followed by the work on which this collection was built; Mark Tansey’s End of History Victory Party (1993, Estimate on Request, illustrated right), which will be offered in the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale, New York in November 2019.

About Christie’s

Founded in 1766, Christie’s is a world-leading art and luxury business. Renowned and trusted for its expert live and online auctions, as well as its bespoke private sales, Christie’s offers a full portfolio of global services to its clients, including art appraisal, art financing, international real estate and education. Christie’s has a physical presence in 46 countries, throughout the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific, with flagship international sales hubs in New York, London, Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva. It also is the only international auction house authorized to hold sales in mainland China (Shanghai).

Christie’s auctions span more than 80 art and luxury categories, at price points ranging from $200 to over $100 million. In recent years, Christie’s has achieved the world record price for an artwork at auction (Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvador Mundi, 2017), for a single collection sale (the Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller, 2018), and for a work by a living artist (Jeff Koons’ Rabbit, 2019).

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Recent innovations at Christie’s include the groundbreaking sale of the first NFT for a digital work of art ever offered at a major auction house (Beeple’s Everydays, March 2021), with the unprecedented acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of payment. As an industry leader in digital innovation, Christie’s also continues to pioneer new technologies that are redefining the business of art, including the creation of viewing and bidding experiences that integrate augmented reality, global livestreaming, buy-now channels, and hybrid sales formats. 

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