As part of what it describes as its "strongest array" yet, Christie's will offer a rare Joan Miro work at its Art of the Surreal auction, which will be held on February 6 in London.
Entitled L'Echelle de l'evasion (The Ladder of Escape), Miro's masterpiece will be sold with a £5m-8m ($8m-12.9m) estimate. The sale follows Sotheby's own Surrealist Art auction, which will be headlined by another $12m Miro piece on February 5.
The piece in the present auction is actually one of two works that Miro named The Ladder of Escape, both executed at a pivotal point in his career in 1939. The second work, executed in gouache, is currently housed in New York's Museum of Modern Art. The piece at Christie's has not been seen at auction for almost 60 years.
The Ladder of Escape motif makes regular appearances throughout Miro's career, with Christie's stating that it symbolises the artist's "flight from the grim realities of Europe's present situation". Miro was living in Normandy at the time of this painting, with France awaiting Nazi Germany's imminent invasion.
After Franco had gained power in Spain, Miro's work took a decidedly more playful approach, seeking to evoke a "sense of the mystery and magic of life", according to Christie's.
A Miro sculpture entitled Femme (Femme debout) will provide the auction's second highest bids, estimated at £3m-5m ($4.8m-8m). With the auction house describing Miro's sculpture works as the "crowning achievement of his late career", coupled with the fact that this piece has not been seen in public for over two decades, it will undoubtedly attract global attention.