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The Art of the Surreal Evening Sale

The Art of the Surreal Evening Sale

Sale Overview


The 23rd edition of The Art of the Surreal presented by Christie’s will immediately follow the 20th/21st Century: Evening Sale on 7 March 2024.

Celebrating the 100th anniversary of André Breton’s ‘Surrealist Manifesto,’ and the official birth of the movement, The Art of the Surreal Sale features works by many of the most innovative and leading figures of Surrealism, from René Magritte to Francis Picabia, Max Ernst to Salvador Dalí, Yves Tanguy to Joan Miró. Tracing the evolution of the movement – from its roots in Symbolism and DADA, through to its heyday in Paris and Brussels during the 1920s and 1930s, and onto its later iterations in Post-War Europe and North America – the eclectic group of artworks in the Sale tells the unique story of Surrealism across the 20th century.

The Sale will be led by René Magritte’s L’ami intime (The Intimate Friend), one of the finest of the artist’s iconic and mysterious paintings of the man in the bowler hat. Created during the first months of 1958, it depicts this familiar, anonymous figure seen from behind and staring out over a sunlit, green landscape. Behind him, the magical appearance of a baguette and a glass of water, apparently levitating at the centre of the canvas and against his back, transforms this simple image into something wholly unexpected, mysterious and completely out of the ordinary. The work will be on view at our galleries in New York from 9–14 February and Hong Kong from 21–23 February.

Explore 20th/21st Century: London auction series. 

Auction times
07 Mar 07:00 PM (GMT) Lots 101-125

Our specialist’s selection

Brought to you by

Ottavia Marchitelli

Ottavia Marchitelli

Senior Specialist | Impressionist & Modern Art

Ottavia Marchitelli is a Director, Senior Specialist in the Impressionist and Modern Art Department in London.

Ottavia drives business sourcing in Impressionist and 20th Century Art, focusing on business getting, art advisory and auction management. Her passion engages clients and institutions alike across Europe, a knowledge base she transfers into the strong results she continues to achieve for the department. As a Director, Ottavia leads the core Impressionist team, prioritising the sourcing of outstanding works of art for the Day and Works on Paper Sales.

Ottavia joined Christie’s in 2010 and holds a Master of Science in Economics and Management for Arts, Culture, Media and Entertainment from Bocconi University, Milan. Ottavia is fluent in English, French and Italian.

Ottavia lives in London with her husband and two children.
Olivier Camu

Olivier Camu

Deputy Chairman, Senior International Director | Impressionist & Modern Art

In 2007 Olivier was appointed Head of the London Department, a position he held until 2009. He enjoyed considerable success in this role. In June 2008 the Impressionist Evening sale reached new heights, achieving £144.5m ($285m) thanks to the Miller Collection from Columbus, Indiana - for a long time the highest total for any Impressionist and Modern Art sale in European auction history. In that sale Monet's ‘Nympheas’ sold for £41m ($82m) a world record then not only for Monet, but for any Impressionist painting at auction. He also played a key role in the consignment of single major paintings such as Gauguin's ‘L'homme à la hache’, which sold for the world record price of $40m in New York in November 2006, and Degas' pastel ‘Danseuses à la barre’ which sold for £13.5m ($26.5m) in 2008.

In 2012 Olivier was appointed Deputy Chairman of the department. He has since then been responsible for several major sales such as the Hubertus Wald Charitable Foundation collection from Hamburg, which was a backbone of the London February 2012 evening sales and witnessed several world record prices. In 2014 he was responsible for the sale of the unnamed ‘Modern Masterworks from a Private Swiss Collection’, which included world record masterpieces such as Juan Gris 'La nappe à carreaux' of 1915, which sold for a double world record price of £35m ($57m) as well as Carlo Carra's 'Solitudine' from circa 1917-26, which sold for a record £3m ($5m).

In 2015 Olivier was responsible for the consignment of Picasso's 'Les Femmes d'Alger' of 1955, which sold for $180m, not only beating the previous record price of $108m, but also establishing the world record price for any work of art at auction; he was also responsible for the sale of Mondrian's ‘Composition III’ from 1929, which achieved the new world record of $50m, and the anonymous Belgian collection ‘Reality and Surreality’ which included Bacon's ‘Cardinal Rouge’ and fetched $45m while the total collection sold for $120m (£75m), mostly in February 2015 in London: as well as being responsible for the consignment of the anonymous ‘Figuration and Abstraction: works from a private European collection’, which also sold in February 2015 for £42m ($64m), with Miro’s 1950 ‘Painting (Women, Room, Birds)’ estimated at £4-7m and selling for £15.5 ($25m), a world record for any post-war Miro.

Olivier has been responsible for helping Christie's achieve a dominant position in the Surrealist and Italian 20th Century Art yearly sales in London since their inception in 2000. While Olivier stopped running the Italian sale in 2008, he successfully continues to run ‘The Art of The Surreal sale’ which is world renowned and is the leading sale for such art worldwide and the only one to take place regularly in London every February. As result Christie's holds a 77% market share in that sale format. In 2015 his Surrealist sale achieved a highpoint when Christie’s registered 80% market share against our competitors. That sale at £66.5m ($101m) achieved the highest sold total for any Surrealist sale in auction history.

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