For the third consecutive year, Sotheby’s Paris will present an evening sale entirely devoted exclusively to works on paper and coinciding with the Salon du Dessin. This sale will offer a significant selection of quality drawings which highlight key trends from the 19th century to the dawn of contemporary art.
Alongside important works by Degas and Picasso, several sections of the sale will focus on Surrealism. For example, Miró’s Chez le Roi de Pologne: Ubu Roi plate III is a major work combining the Catalan painter’s motifs and naïve, fanciful colours. Made in 1954 at the request of Tériade, the one-off work was intended to illustrate Alfred Jarry’s late-19th-century play Ubu Roi, which enthralled many Surrealists. They saw the fat, cowardly, treacherous Père Ubu as the embodiment of the anti-modern hero and the absurdity of always wanting more.
Magritte’s Les Grâces naturelles, from the same period, is a rare red chalk drawing featuring one of the Belgian painter’s emblematic, recurring motifs: the bird-plant. Raymonde Becquevort, founder of Brussels’ La Sirène gallery, bought this particularly graceful model of metamorphosis directly from Magritte in 1953. Ponge, Artaud and Michaux often visited her gallery, a meeting place of the Surrealist intelligentsia where words and images met. Another surrealist artist represented in the sale is Hans Bellmer with a fascinating and rare ensemble of erotic from a private French collection.