Reevaluating Undervalued Surrealist Art – artmarketblog.com
A little while ago I wrote a post about rise of the value of Surrealism. That post was an general introduction to the Surrealist movement so I will now, in continuation from the last post, explain the factors that have led to an increase in the popularity and value of Surrealist art. If you haven’t read the previous post on Surrealism you can do so here:
Considering that Surrealism is such a well known movement thanks to artists such as Dali and Miro, the fact that Sotheby’s didn’t hold an auction devoted to Surrealism until December 2000 is rather telling. The event that appears to have triggered a slow revival in the interest of work by Surrealism was the auction of Andre Breton’s collection of paintings, books, manuscripts and other items from his estate. The auction took place 35 years after Breton’s death and included a massive 5500 items that belonged to Breton. Because of the massive number of lots, a series of auctions were required which took place over ten days between the 1st and the 18th of April 2003 in France. An eight volume auction catalogue was required to list all the items which sold for a total of US$50.1 million smashing the US$32.6 million pre-sale estimate. Another boost to the popularity of Surrealism was the auction of the only known complete copy of Breton’s Surrealist Manifesto in May of this year (2008) which sold for 3.2 million euros in Paris. This document is the ultimate guide for Surrealist artists that is, in essence, the definition of Surrealism and an explanation of the philosophy behind the concept.
The record for a Surrealist work was also recently broken when a work by Miro titled “La caresse des étoiles” was sold by Christie’s for US$17.1 million. This work was last sold in 2004 by Christie’s for US$11.1 million. According to artprice.com “prices in the segment (Surrealism) are reaching new peaks, having progressed another 21% over the first 9 months of this year. Over 10 years, the movement’s price index has gained 214.”
It is fair to say that the rapidly progressing and ground breaking contemporary artists have also contributed to the increase in the acceptance of the often bizarre and controversial subject matter of Surrealist works. As contemporary artists constantly challenge the boundaries of what is acceptable and tolerable people tend to become more accepting and gain greater understanding of such work. This means that people are then able to appreciate and understand the challenging concepts and philosophies behind the Surrealist works and the bizarre way that those philosophies and concepts were depicted. A greater understanding and appreciation of the Surrealist movement and it’s background has contributed to the rise in popularity and value of Surrealist works of art. Prices should continue to rise as the massive disparity between the prices paid for top Surrealist works and major works from other modern art movements closes.
“La caresse des étoiles” by Joan Miro
**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.
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