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Last Updated: Friday, 18 April, 2003, 12:48 GMT 13:48 UK
Surrealist sale smashes records
Breton auction
Photographs of Breton were also on offer
An Paris auction of Surrealist artworks collected by poet Andre Breton has beaten pre-sale estimates to fetch 46 million euros (31.8m).

Auction house CalmelsCohen had predicted its 10-day sale of 5,500 objects would bring in 30m euros (20.7m).

But the sale of paintings alone - including works by Magritte and Miro - totalled 26m euros (18m).

"It's the biggest sale we've had at Drouot for 20 years," an auction house spokeswoman said.

The family of The Surrealist Manifesto's author opted to sell his collection after failing to convince the French government to buy it and his flat in the Pigalle district of Paris.

But the French state was one of the biggest buyers, spending 12m euros to buy works for 33 different museums.

The Breton collection includes hundreds of random objects

Among its purchases were a Jean Arp painting, Femme, which sold for 2.8 million euros (1.9m) - a world record for the artist.

It also paid 1.8m euros (1.2m) for a Francis Picabia canvas, Les Amureux (Apres la pluie) and 1.6m euros (1.1m) on a work by Man Ray for the Pompidou Centre in Paris.

The auction also included photographs, primitive art, manuscripts and popular art.

The state also set another record in buying the manuscript of Breton's Arcane 17 for 848,000 euros (586,000).

A 1934 edition of Breton's What is Surrealism sold for 276,000 euros (190,000).

Intellectuals protested against the auction, accusing collectors of picking over the bones of Breton, who died in 1966.

Stink bombs were let off and fake euro notes handed out with the legend "your money stinks of the corpse of the poet that you never dared to become".

Record start to Breton auction
16 Apr 03  |  Entertainment
Surrealist's treasures for sale
07 Apr 03  |  Europe
Surrealist's treasures spark row
01 Feb 03  |  Entertainment

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