NEW YORK, NY.- Sothebys
on Friday sold the most significant group of Magritte correspondence to appear at auction in more than 20 years for the sum of $218,500 (£147,356), against a pre-sale estimate of $200,000-400,000. The collection was acquired by an American institution.
The cache of over forty highly important letters and postcards from Surrealist master René Magritte to poet Paul Colinet forms an extraordinary record of the artists creative process in addition to revealing the literary and artistic influences on his work during the most productive period of his career. Complete with whimsical drawings and sketches, many of which are variations on the artists well-known canvases. No other significant group of Magritte letters has appeared on the market since Sothebys 1987 sale in London, where the group was offered in an auction of artifacts from the artists studio consigned by his widow.
Senior Specialist in Sothebys Books and Manuscripts Department, Marsha Malinowski, said: We are extremely pleased with the price that this historically significant group of letters achieved today and we are particularly thrilled that this highly important correspondence was acquired by an American institution, where it will be preserved for future generations to enjoy.
In 1933, Magritte met the Belgian Surrealist poet Paul Colinet, and the two became close friends rapidly. At the time, Magrittes personal connections with Surrealism were strained he had left Paris in disgust and returned home to Brussels although ironically his artwork remained clearly Surrealist in style. The collection of letters cover a wide range of topics artistic, literary and surreal and reveals a remarkable influence Colinet wielded on Magritte and his oeuvre. A peek inside the mind of the Surrealist genius is presented by a letter in which Magritte digressed on the significance of the number 9 and his prose becomes a bit surreal: vous avez déjà remarqué que le chiffre 18 compose de 1 et de 8, soit 1 + 8 =9 . . . le chiffre 9, multiplié par lui-même donc 81, soit 8 = 1 = 9 . . .