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Tuesday, 29 May, 2001, 09:58 GMT 10:58 UK
Magritte family sells treasures
René Magritte's Les Grands Rendezvous
Les Grands Rendezvous is expected to fetch £700,000
The family of surrealist artist René Magritte are to sell eight of his paintings, most of which have not been seen in public for more than 50 years.

The works will be auctioned at Christie's in London in June and are expected to fetch more than £1.5m.

René Magritte's Image à La Fenêtre
Image à La Fenêtre is expected to fetch £500,000
The Belgian artist's niece, Arlette, is selling the works following the death of her husband.

The works include a portrait of Arlette Magritte as a young woman.

"She is selling them for a mixture of reasons," said Olivier Camu, director of Impressionist and 20th Century art at Christie's.

Surreal images

"Her husband has died and she has got to a certain age and she wants to sell the pictures for her children."

René Magritte, who died in 1967, was one of the best known artists of the 20th Century, creating dream-like surreal images which have become iconic.

His career was slow to take off and his brother Raymond use to buy his pictures to help him out.

The images to be auctioned encompass the whole of Magritte's working life, and feature many of his surreal motifs.

Portrait d'Arlette Magritte is an image of the artist's niece staring out at the viewer from her own corner of her uncle's surreal universe.

Christie's auction catalogue notes that the paintings contain "the presence of some of the most universally recognised of the artist's motifs to provide a striking and original rendering of his relative".

Also for sale is Les Grands Rendezvous in which a woman's eyes star out at the viewer from outside a cavern in which a bird and a goblet can be seen in silhouette. The painting is expected to fetch up to £700,000.

The eight paintings will go on sale on 25 and 26 June.

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23 May 01 | Arts
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