The Bruneian

Magritte’s ‘Dominion of Light’ sells for £59.4 million at auction


Rene Magritte’s paradoxica­l painting “L’Empire des Lumieres” (Dominion of Light) sold for a hammer price of 51.5 million pounds on Wednesday, setting a new record auction price for the surrealist Belgian artist. Additional fees gave it a final sale price of 59.422 million pounds.

Depicting a night-time Brussels street under a bright blue sky, the 1961 “Dominion of Light” had an estimate in excess of more than 45 million pounds. Auction house Sotheby’s called it “a masterpiec­e of 20th-century art”.

The painting is one in a series of 17 similar oils and 10 other works depicting the scene that Magritte produced from the 1940s to the 1960s.

The one sold on Wednesday was painted for Anne-Marie Gillion Crowet, a friend of Magritte and the daughter of his patron, the Belgian collector

Pierre Crowet. It has remained in the family’s hands ever since.

On the darkened street are silhouette­s of trees and a house with light glowing from windows and a street lamp. Above the sky is blue with white clouds.

The image was the inspiratio­n for the cover of singer-songwriter Jackson Browne’s 1974 album “Late for the Sky” and a scene in “The Exorcist”; that movie’s poster pay homage to it.

Other lots on offer at Wednesday’s auction were four works by Claude Monet, painted in the 1880s to 1890s as he moved away from impression­ism. The top lot, a depiction of a cluster of chrysanthe­mums inspired by the Japanese print maker Hokusai, fetched 8.29 million pounds.

A fifth painting of water lilies produced in the 1910s sold for 23.2 million pounds.

Works by Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh and David Hockney were also offered at the auction.

 ?? ?? Image: Reuters
Image: Reuters

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