Posts Tagged ‘« André Breton »’

Artprice: the Top 10 of Surrealism

2019/02/21 Commentaires fermés

Artprice: the Top 10 of Surrealism

Artprice posts an auction ranking to help you apprehend the Art Market’s leading trends. This week, Artprice takes a look at the 10 most expensive Surrealist artworks ever sold at auction… A ranking very clearly dominated by Miro.

Thierry Ehrmann: “The Catalan Surrealist artist Joan Miro, the subject of a major retrospective at the Grand Palais in Paris (ended February 4, 2019), is also very clearly the leading Surrealist artist on the auction market with seven out of the Top-10 results. The other three places are currently occupied by René Magritte and Salvador Dali”. Awaiting the next Surrealist Auction next week in London (read further).

The Top 10 of Surrealism by



Hammer Price ($)




Joan MIRO (1893-1983)


Peinture (Etoile Bleue)

19/jun/2012 Sotheby’s London


Joan MIRO (1893-1983)


Femme et oiseaux

21/jun/2017 Sotheby’s London


René MAGRITTE (1898-1967)


Le principe du plaisir

12/nov/2018 Sotheby’s New York


Joan MIRO (1893-1983)


Painting Poem

07/feb/2012 Christie’s London


Joan MIRO (1893-1983)


Painting (Women, Moon, Birds)

04/feb/2015 Christie’s London


Joan MIRO (1893-1983)



13/nov/2017 Christie’s New York


Joan MIRO (1893-1983)


Femme dans la nuit

15/nov/2018 Phillips New York


Joan MIRO (1893-1983)


Femme entendant de la musique

15/may/2018 Christie’s New York


Salvador DALI (1904-1989)


Portrait de Paul Eluard

10/feb/2011 Sotheby’s London


René MAGRITTE (1898-1967)


L’empire des lumières

13/11/2017 Christie’s New York

Copyright © 2019

André BRETON, Portrait by thierry Ehrmann , courtesy of Demeure du Chaos/Abode of Chaos, HQ Artprice.

André BRETON, Portrait by thierry Ehrmann , courtesy of Demeure du Chaos/Abode of Chaos, HQ Artprice.

As thierry Ehrmann recalls, André Breton (then a medical student), father of surrealism, declared: « Madness is the first material of Surrealism ».

Miro, the most sought-after Surrealist

Miro is undoubtedly one of the leading artists on the Western Art Market, first because his unbridled imagination made him one of the most interesting artists of the Surrealist scene, “the most Surreal of us all » according to André Breton, and secondly, because he was particularly prolific: among the approximately one thousand Miro works that change hands at auction each year, there are always a couple of treasures that deserve a place in the world’s top museums.

In concrete terms, Joan Miro is known to have produced at least 2,000 paintings, 5,000 drawings, 500 sculptures, a few hundred ceramics and a large quantity of prints which represent 91% of his lots sold at auction every year. The prices of his canvases are extremely variable, depending on the historical and artistic importance of the work. Among the 17 Miro paintings sold so far this year, some smaller works (roughly 30 cm) have fetched around $250,000 whereas others with similar dimensions have fetched well over a million dollars.

A good quality work by Miro will fetch a high price… but when quality combines with size… the prices rocket. His best works sell for over $20 million, a threshold crossed eight times so far with a notable acceleration in the last 12 months. Indeed four of those results above the $20 million line have been hammered in the last year for Peinture (1933), Femme dans la nuit (1945) and Femme entendant de la musique (1945), all three in this Top 10, as well as for Mural I / Mural II / Mural III (1933) which fetched $ 20 million last May at Christie’s in New York.

His turnover total for the year 2018 is therefore outstanding (so far $ 107.6 million since January) placing him among the world’s most successful artists. In our provisional ranking for 2018 Miro currently occupies 13th place. Considered universal, his work has appealed to Western and Japanese collectors, but it has not yet penetrated the world’s largest marketplace… China.

Magritte, two new records in 12 months

Magritte’s double appearance in this ranking is all the more remarkable because his two latest records were hammered in the past 12 months. The first in November 2017, for a painting from his emblematic series L’Empire des Lumières. It’s interesting to trace the series’ price history: in 1996, a major canvas from this famous series reached $3.5 million in London. In 2002, another, dated 1952, fetched $12.6 million in New York. That was a new peak for a Surrealist artist at the time.

In 2017, that peak was almost doubled when The empire of lights (1949) sold for $20.5 million in New York. That record, coming just after two other new records during the same year 2017, marked the most successful year in the Belgian Surrealist’s auction history, with an annual turnover of $77.8 million. The strong demand was almost certainly fanned by ‘cultural news’, particularly by the exhibition La trahison des images at the Pompidou Center in Paris and the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt (2016-2017).

The effervescence has continued this year. In February, Magritte elicited the highest bid during London’s Surrealist sales (Christie’s and Sotheby’s) ahead of Miro, with a pioneering 1926 work Le groupe silencieux that fetched $10 million. Then, on 12 November, Sotheby’s set a superb new record for the artist at $26.8 million.

The most expensive Magritte ever sold, the work bears the poetic and enigmatic title Le principe du plaisir and is a portrait of Edward James, an English heir to an American railroad fortune turned eccentric poet and influential patron of Surrealist art who invited Magritte to reside and paint in his London residence for two years.

Le principe du plaisir exceeded its low estimate by more than $10 million. The painting was acquired by the seller 40 years earlier for just $74,000.

Surrealist love…

The third Surrealist in this ranking is none other than the great Salvador Dali with a work whose price might seem excessive compared to its modest size: 33 x 25 centimeters. The Portrait of Paul Eluard is a small oil-on-cardboard whose price went from $2 million in 1989 (Christie’s New York) to $21 million in 2011 at Sotheby’s (against an estimate of just $5-8 million!).

The price of this work therefore multiplied by 10 in twenty years, setting Dali’s all-time auction… and it still stands . Painted at the same time as the Great Masturbateur, Portrait of Paul Eluard condenses the Dalinian iconography of the time, especially with the roaring lion’s head symbolizing desire.

It was 1929 when Dali painted this delirious portrait of the poet who came to visit him in Cadaquès with his wife at that time.. a certain Gala. Dali immediately fell in love with Gala, who become his principal inspiration. The work is not only the portrait of Paul Eluard, it also marks the beginning of the most famous couple in Surrealism. Faced with such a powerful love story, the bidding escaped from the limitations of the work’s format…


Surrealism* is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for its visual artworks and writings. Artists painted unnerving, illogical scenes with photographic precision, created strange creatures from everyday objects, and developed painting techniques that allowed the unconscious to express itself. Its aim was to « resolve the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality into an absolute reality, a super-reality ».

Works of surrealism feature the element of surprise, unexpected juxtapositions and non sequitur; however, many surrealist artists and writers regard their work as an expression of the philosophical movement first and foremost, with the works being an artifact. Leader André Breton was explicit in his assertion that Surrealism was, above all, a revolutionary movement.

Surrealism developed out of the Dada activities during World War I and the most important center of the movement was Paris. From the 1920s onward, the movement spread around the globe, eventually affecting the visual arts, literature, film, and music of many countries and languages, as well as political thought and practice, philosophy, and social theory.

Upcoming auctions

February 26, 2019: Surrealist Art Evening SaleSotheby’s London

February 27, 2019: The Art Of The Surreal Evening SaleChristie’s London

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les 99 Sentinelles Alchimiques de la Demeure du Chaos sont un Sanctuaire par thierry Ehrmann

2011/10/29 Commentaires fermés

Je suis enfin arrivé à poser mon installation de 99 sculptures d’acier brut avec un cahier des charges de ouf, aucune des 3600 œuvres de la Demeure du Chaos ne devaient être occultées, penser aux sources électriques, les passages d’eau, les voies de transport pour engin de chantier, les nacelles télescopiques (3m de large), protéger le grand public, respecter les normes ERP muséales, etc… Alterner en permanence monstration et effacement…

Sont-elles habitées ? Je l’ignore. Une chose certaine est que chacune, par les éléments alchimiques et les codes peints soit à l’antirouille soit volontairement avec des peintures dégradables par la rouille avec le temps, rend chaque sentinelle comme une sculpture unique. Cet automne chaque sentinelle va laisser apparaître, avec les pluies acides, différents niveaux de lecture, selon les peintures et solvants utilisés, les rendant singulières avec des stratifications que les archéologues des temps futurs décrypteront…

Mais mon défi le plus périlleux, était de créer une installation géante de 9000 m2 qui enveloppe, par des dizaines de tonnes d’acier, la Demeure du Chaos pour que mes visiteurs sur 360 degrés, plongent dans un univers onirique et fantasmagorique où les deux univers que sont la Demeure du Chaos d’une part et d’autre part l’installation des 99 sculptures monumentales (baptisées par une nuit très agitée « Sentinelles Alchimiques ») s’entrecroisent selon l’Inframince définit par Marcel Duchamp (ou comment construire des intensités par soustraction).

Ces 99 Sentinelles Alchimiques sont désormais les gardiennes du Sanctuaire que représente la Demeure du Chaos. Je les ai conçus comme de véritable puits d’énergie quantique que je pose avec patience et sagesse sur l’ensemble de la Demeure du Chaos.

Elles sont au nombre de 99, faites d’acier brut de 10 mm (50 tonnes) soudées pour former un triangle équilatéral parfait. Chacun des 3 pans constituant une Sentinelle Alchimique, est lui même découpé pour laisser entrevoir une mystérieuse meurtrière, elle même en forme de triangle équilatéral, donnant ainsi une géométrie Euclidienne au regard du visiteur.

Ces 99 Sentinelles Alchimiques sont chacune à des points d’énergie particuliers de la Demeure du Chaos sur 9000 m2. Certaines se dissimulent par la végétation ou les reliefs naturels ou bien en écho aux autres œuvres, d’autres sont dans les espaces privatifs ou professionnels.

Dans mon travail alchimique démarré le 9 décembre 1999, les trois portes disposées en triangle équilatéral, dont un sommet est dirigé vers le haut, forment le delta lumineux. Elle sont les trois corps sur lesquels l’alchimiste va œuvrer. Ces trois corps sont le soufre, le mercure et le sel.

Soulignons que les trois corps présents dans la Materia Prima ou Chaos alchimique sont étroitement mélangés. Le triangle de point est aussi la marque des philosophes par le feu.

Birth of the mysterious Alchemical Sentinels / Naissance de mystérieuses Sentinelles Alchimiques  DDC_9381

Le triangle équilatéral reposant sur sa base, à la manière des trois points, est le symbole de l’élément feu, l’un des quatre éléments avec lequel l’alchimiste travaille au laboratoire.

Les propriétés géométriques du triangle équilatéral relèvent de la perfection absolue par sa force spirituelle, son symbolisme de la nuit des temps notamment dans l’ancienne Egypte, il est force, beauté et harmonie.

Elles resteront durant mille ans comme les témoins d’une civilisation disparue par la folie des hommes.

thierry Ehrmann:.

cliquez sur Flickr pour visionner l’histoire des 99 Sentinelles Alchimiques   :

Birth of the mysterious Alchemical Sentinels / Naissance de mystérieuses Sentinelles Alchimiques P1060948

Selon la presse artistique internationale, les 99 Sentinelles Alchimiques de la Demeure du Chaos sont désormais une des plus grandes installations statuaires en Europe.

Le Postulat des Sentinelles Alchimiques et ma longue démarche sont sur Flickr en cliquant l’une des photos. Ce qui est fabuleux c’est que nous disposons de 297 faces qui chacune font l’objet avec différents supports tels que anti-rouille, glycéro, acrylique, disqueuse, fraiseuse, de la capacité de produire 297 tableaux alchimiques et énigmatiques qui sont de véritables totems initiatiques pour ceux qui connaissent la Demeure du Chaos.

Le plus intéressant, est que grâce au matériau qui attaque physiquement l’acier, la rouille devient donc notre principal médium. On travaille à la manière de l’imprimerie où le corps gras permet d’évincer l’encre. On a la même approche avec les pans d’acier où nous préparons des veinages pour que la rouille laisse révéler les symboles de l’ordre de l’infra-mince. Allez sur l’album Flickr, où 339 photos sont visibles et chaque jour, de nouvelles photos viennent enrichir ce travail initiatique.

Là où le dispositif fonctionne implacablement, c’est que 90% de mes visiteurs, qui de surcroît connaissent très bien la Demeure du Chaos et sont eux mêmes parfois plasticiens ne recensent qu’environ 50 Sentinelles au cours de leur périple et à chaque fois je gagne mon pari sulfureux, où ils recomptent les Sentinelles Alchimiques du parcours et arrivent finalement à 99.

Ce qui prouve que l’effacement ou la mise en situation dans la végétation crée une réelle confusion pour le visiteur. Venez jouer à ce jeu qui deviendra le labyrinthe alchimique de votre mental…

Birth of the mysterious Alchemical Sentinels at the Abode of Chaos

2011/10/28 Commentaires fermés

I have managed to set up my installation of 99 raw steel sculptures with an incredibly demanding specification: none of the 3600 work on the DDC site were to be hidden… we had to think about power sources, water crossings, access for construction machinery including the telescopic booms (3m wide)… public safety, ERP museum standards, etc, … constantly alternating between the visible and the invisible…

Are they inhabited? I don’t know. One thing is certain: each sentinel stands as a unique sculpture in terms of its alchemical elements and paintwork (either with anti-rust paint or voluntarily with paints that do not resist rust). This autumn, each sentinel will reveal – with the acid rain – different interpretations, depending on the paints and solvents used, making each one different, with stratifications that future archaeologists will decipher.

But my most perilous challenge was to create a giant (9000 m²) installation that envelops the Abode of Chaos with dozens of tons of steel, so that my visitors, from any angle, enter a dreamlike fantasy and where the world of the Abode of Chaos on the one hand and that of the 99 monumental sculptures (named « Alchemical Sentinels » during an extremely busy night ) intersect like the Inframince defined by Marcel Duchamp (or, how to build intensities by subtraction).

These 99 Alchemical Sentinels are now the guardians of the Sanctuary that the Abode of Chaos has become. I designed them as veritable quantum energy wells that we placed with patience and wisdom at different spots all over the Abode of Chaos.

There are 99 in total, made of 10mm rough steel (50 tons), welded to form perfect equilateral triangles. Each of the three sides constituting an Alchemical Sentinel is itself cut to reveal a meurtrière, again in the shape of an equilateral triangle, presenting a superb Euclidean geometry to the visitor.

These 99 Alchemical Sentinels are each placed at specific energy points on the 9000 m² of the Abode of Chaos. Some are hidden by vegetation or natural landforms or are placed in relation to existing works. Others are located in our private and professionals spaces.

In my alchemical work that began on 9 December 1999, the three gates arranged in an equilateral triangle with one vertex pointing upwards, form the luminous delta. They represent the three elements that alchemists work with. These three elements are sulphur, mercury and salt.

Note that the three elements found in the Prima Materia (or Alchemical Chaos) are very closely related. The point triangle is also the symbol of the fire philosophers.

Birth of the mysterious Alchemical Sentinels / Naissance de mystérieuses Sentinelles Alchimiques  DDC_9381
The equilateral triangle resting on its base – like the three points – is the symbol of the fire element, one of the four elements that the alchemist works with in the laboratory.

The geometric properties of the equilateral triangle evoke absolute perfection by their spiritual strength and their age-old symbolism going back to ancient Egypt… strength, beauty and harmony.

They will remain for a thousand years as witnesses to a civilization lost through the folly of men.
click on Flickr :

thierry Ehrmann:.
Birth of the mysterious Alchemical Sentinels / Naissance de mystérieuses Sentinelles Alchimiques P1060948