Sotheby's has announced the first lots to appear in its February 5 Surrealist Art auction in London, featuring a line-up of the category's top names.
Of the pieces consigned so far, the lead item will be a magnificent gouache by Joan Miro, entitled Le fermier et son epouse (The Farmer and his Wife). Last sold by Sotheby's for $10.4m in 2007, the piece will be offered with a £5.5m-7.5m ($8.8m-12m) estimate.
The work was painted in 1936, a year of great significance for Miro and the development of his work. It is closely related to a series of six oil paintings on copper and six executed in tempera on masonite that were created between October 1935 and May 1936.
The work displays Miro's love of the countryside, a recurring theme in his work that was first demonstrated in his 1922 masterpiece Le ferme. However, the Le fermier et son epouse sees Miro abandoning the natural palette used in Le ferme for the robust primary colours that are characteristic of his best-known works.
Also featuring will be Salvador Dali's Portrait of Mrs Harrison Williams, which has not yet been given an estimate. The piece depicts Mona Bismarck, an American socialite and fashion icon, and was created especially for her in 1943. It was formerly owned by the Fondation Mona Bismarck, a philanthropic venture started by the countess in the 1980s.
Paul Fraser Collectibles has a fantastic Salvador Dali original sketch for sale - a remarkable drawing which is thought to depict his wife and muse, Gala.