René Magritte’s ‘L’ami Intime To Sell For £50 Million

Presented by Christie’s René Magritte’s L’Ami Intime is set to fetch up to £50 Million at auction.

René Magritte’s masterpiece, L’Ami Intime (The Intimate Friend), is set to captivate art enthusiasts as Christie’s unveils it for auction for the first time since 1980.

With an estimated value of £30-50 million, this iconic piece emerges from the esteemed Gilbert and Lena Kaplan Collection, marking a significant event in the art world.

A Glimpse into Surrealist Legacy

Coinciding with the centenary of the Surrealist Manifesto, authored by André Breton in October 1924, the unveiling of L’ami intime (The Intimate Friend) holds profound significance.

This seminal document marked a pivotal moment in art history, heralding the birth of surrealism—a movement that sought to challenge conventional notions of reality and unlock the subconscious mind.

René Magritte, with his masterpiece, emerges as a torchbearer of this avant-garde movement, his brushstrokes imbuing life into the surreal tableau.

Magritte’s artistic genius lies in his ability to juxtapose the ordinary with the extraordinary, inviting viewers on a journey where the familiar becomes unfamiliar, and the mundane transforms into the mysterious.

The enigmatic portrayal of the bowler-hatted man, often regarded as Magritte’s ‘everyman’, serves as a poignant symbol amidst a backdrop of societal commentary and artistic exploration.

Through his paintings, Magritte beckons viewers into a realm where reality intertwines with imagination, challenging perceptions and evoking introspection.

L’ami intime – From Private Collection to Global Showcase

The journey of L’ami intime (The Intimate Friend) from a cherished piece in the Gilbert and Lena Kaplan Collection to a global showcase underscores the enduring legacy of René Magritte’s art.

This transcendent masterpiece, steeped in history and imbued with artistic brilliance, resonates with audiences across continents. Last exhibited in Brussels at the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique in 1998, its reappearance on the auction block signifies a convergence of artistic heritage and contemporary relevance.

Ahead of its auction debut, L’ami intime (The Intimate Friend) embarks on a global tour, offering patrons and enthusiasts a rare opportunity to immerse themselves in its surreal allure.

From Christie’s LA to Rockefeller Center in New York, and culminating in Hong Kong, this pre-sale exhibition promises an intimate encounter with Magritte’s enigmatic creation.

René Magritte's 'L'ami Intime To Sell For £50 Million

The anticipation surrounding its unveiling in London, from 1st to 7th March, sets the stage for a momentous event in the annals of art history, where past and present converge in a celebration of surrealism’s enduring legacy.

“It is an honour to have been entrusted by the Gilbert Kaplan family with this masterpiece, which they have enjoyed for over 40 years. René Magritte, of all Surrealist artists, is the most sought after internationally. L’ami Intime (The Intimate Friend) belongs to one of Magritte’s two most iconic subject-series of paintings – the other being his ‘Empire des lumières’. L’ami Intime (The Intimate Friend) is one of the most powerful and impressive of only a few of these iconic images left in private hands, a tour de force of the artist’s hyper-realistic technique. Extremely poetic, silent and mysterious, especially given the unknown identity of the sitter together with its evocative title. We are looking forward to the market’s reaction to this exquisite painting, the like of which has not been seen at auction since the Torczyner sale of Magritte paintings in 1998.”

Olivier Camu, Deputy Chairman, Impressionist and Modern Art, Christie’s, London

The Legacy of Gilbert Kaplan: Entrepreneur and Cultural Connoisseur

At the heart of this auction lies the remarkable legacy of Gilbert Kaplan, whose indelible mark as a trailblazing entrepreneur and esteemed cultural connoisseur continues to resonate.

Kaplan’s entrepreneurial journey commenced with the founding of Institutional Investor at the youthful age of 25, showcasing not only his business acumen but also his profound passion for the arts. However, his contributions extended far beyond the realm of commerce, as evidenced by his significant impact in the world of music.

Beyond the corridors of business, Kaplan’s dedication to cultural enrichment was exemplified through his involvement in conducting Gustav Mahler’s Second Symphony. This momentous undertaking served as a testament to his multifaceted talents and unwavering commitment to fostering artistic expression.

Kaplan’s profound influence extended beyond the confines of traditional entrepreneurship, leaving an enduring legacy that continues to inspire generations of artists and enthusiasts alike.

Exploring Magritte’s Symbolism

René Magritte’s artistic vision, epitomised by the recurring motif of the bowler-hatted man, transcends conventional boundaries, inviting viewers into a world where reality and imagination intertwine.

In L’ami intime (The Intimate Friend), observers are confronted with a captivating juxtaposition of the mundane and the surreal. The bowler-hatted figure, an emblem of anonymity and existential contemplation, stands against a backdrop of serene tranquillity, seemingly oblivious to the inexplicable sight behind him—a floating baguette and wine glass suspended in mid-air.

This surreal tableau, characteristic of Magritte’s oeuvre, serves as a captivating enigma, challenging viewers to unravel its layers of symbolism and meaning. Magritte’s deliberate juxtaposition of seemingly ordinary elements with the extraordinary encourages introspection and invites interpretation.

Through his art, Magritte beckons us to delve deeper into the recesses of our consciousness, transcending the confines of reality to explore the boundless realms of imagination and symbolism.

The Surreal Legacy

As Christie’s meticulously prepares to unveil René Magritte’s L’ami intime (The Intimate Friend) to a global audience, the profound resonance of surrealism persists, captivating art aficionados worldwide. Beyond its monetary value, this masterpiece transcends mere commodity, serving as a profound conduit for cultural dialogue and artistic exploration.

With each meticulous brushstroke, Magritte masterfully constructs a world where the boundaries of reality blur, inviting viewers to embark on a transformative journey through the corridors of the subconscious mind. Through his enigmatic compositions, Magritte challenges conventional perceptions, prompting introspection and sparking conversations that transcend temporal and spatial confines.

The unveiling of L’ami intime (The Intimate Friend) heralds not only a celebration of artistic brilliance but also a testament to the enduring legacy of surrealism. As patrons and enthusiasts converge to witness this iconic work of art, they partake in a collective exploration of the human psyche and the boundless realms of imagination.

Indeed, Magritte’s oeuvre leaves an indelible imprint on the canvas of art history, perpetuating a legacy that continues to inspire generations to come.

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