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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 April, 2003, 09:05 GMT 10:05 UK
Record start to Breton auction
Breton portrait by Romanian Victor Brauner
Breton's collection includes a host of priceless modern artworks
A batch of paintings owned by Surrealist master Andre Breton has been sold at auction in Paris for 13.2m euros (9m).

Five record bids were recorded among the first lots at the start of a marathon 10-day sale.

Breton's collection, originally valued at about 30m euros (20.5m), includes paintings by Salvador Dali, Rene Magritte and Joan Miro.

Breton's family opted to sell off his belongings after failing to convince the French government to take over his Paris flat.

Le point-virgule, by Andre Breton
Breton's Le point-virgule fetched 800,000 Euros (549,000)
This has angered a group of intellectuals who have protested against the sale.

The French state has bought 17 lots at the sale for display in the country's national museums.

The works on sale also include drawings by Breton, photographs, books signed by Sigmund Freud and the poet Guillaume Apollinaire, letters, primitive art, and a mixture of household items, fossils and coins.

Joan Miro's The Trap, which had been expected to fetch up to 5m euros (3.4m), went for half that amount.

However, buyers paid up to 30 times the estimated worth of other items.

Clovis Trouille's portrait of a nun smoking a cigarette took in 240,000 Euros (164,000) - three times its estimated value and a record sale for the artist's work.

Works by Jean Arp, Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes, Charles Filiger and Maruja Mallo were also sold at record prices.

Born in Normandy in 1896, Breton wrote poetry, served in World War I and studied psychoanalysis before writing the Surrealist Manifesto in 1924.

It set out his central theory of the pre-eminence of the irrational and the automatic over logic and reason.

Surrealist's treasures for sale
07 Apr 03  |  Europe
Surrealist's treasures spark row
01 Feb 03  |  Entertainment


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