May auction includes nude studies by Surrealist painter René Magritte

May auction includes nude studies by Surrealist painter René Magritte

03/05/2024     Latest News

Famously known for images of clouds, bowler hats, pipes and green apples, René Magritte (1898 – 1967) has left an iconic and instantly recognizable legacy. 

We are delighted to have a double-sided sketch featuring two pencil drawings of nude figures by the famous Belgian artist in our sale on Wednesday, 8 May. Handsomely framed, the work measures 21.5cm x 17.5cm and is estimated to sell for £10,000 - £15,000. 

“Even if at first people think they don’t know the name of Magritte, they will most probably be familiar with many of his pictures that have frequently been featured in advertisements, posters, book covers and films,” said Rohan McCulloch, Paintings and Sculpture Specialist at Elstob Auctioneers. 

In the 1999 film The Thomas Crown Affair, starring Pierce Brosnan, the Magritte painting The Son of Man was prominently featured as part of the plot. The logo of Apple Corps, The Beatles’ company, is inspired by Magritte's Le Jeu de Mourre. Paul Simon composed a song, Rene and Georgette Magritte with Their Dog after the War, and Tom Stoppard wrote a 1970 Surrealist play called After Magritte. 

Magritte established a reputation for depicting familiar objects in unfamiliar, unexpected contexts, which often provoked questions about the relationship between reality and representation. His work has hugely influenced pop art, minimalist, and conceptual art. Magritte’s paintings hang in art galleries worldwide, including the René Magritte Museum in Belgium and The Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice. 

The sketches in our sale have a strong provenance. They came from the remaining contents of René Magritte's studio, which was sold at Sotheby's on 2 July 1987. 

The Fine Art & Antiques Sale also contains many other fine pieces of art. A striking portrait of Miss Hilda Wilkinson by Leeds artist Jacob Kramer (1892-1962) is anticipated to fetch £6,000-8,000. Born in the Ukraine, Kramer grew up in a poor immigrant family who settled in England. The oil painting is signed circa 1920 and measures 90cm by 69cm. 

Another striking portrait included in the collection is by fellow Leeds artist Philip Naviasky (1894-1983). Of Polish extraction, Naviasky, studied at the Leeds School of Art before being admitted as a painting student at the Royal Academy School. His oil on canvas portrait of Miss May is signed and dated 1925 and carries a price estimate of £1,000 - £1,500.