Rene Magritte’s La Corde Sensible (1960) is valued at £14m-18m ($17.4m-22.4m) in Christie’s upcoming sale of surrealist art in London.
That estimate puts it in the running to exceed the $11.5m auction record for Magritte’s work, set for L’empire des lumieres (1952) in 2002.
La Corde Sensible is a classic from Magritte’s late period and at almost two metres across is one of the largest canvases he produced.
Rene Magritte came up with the idea for La Corde Sensible in 1958
He first came up with the idea in 1958.
The development of the work is mapped in a letter to friend and poet Andre Bosman that shows Magritte’s thoughts regarding what he describes as “the problem of the cloud”.
He originally considered juxtaposing it with a large umbrella or a fire before settling on a wine glass.
The idea of solving such “problems” came to Magritte one morning in 1932, when he sleepily looked over to the bird cage he kept in his room and imagined he saw an egg in it.
He was so profoundly affected by this surreal image that it changed his entire method of working.
From then on, he sought out poetic relationships between disparate objects.
The solution to “the problem of the cloud” is water, hence its link to a glass.
Magritte explained: “I feel a drive to paint a cloud, perhaps a hundred.
“And I surround them with forms the meaning of which escapes me until I am once more visited by inspiration and I know that what is suitable under the cloud is a crystal glass.”
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