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Richly illustrated letters and postcards by the Belgian surrealist René Magritte, complete with his trademark bowler hats, are to be sold at auction for an estimated price of $400,000 (£275,000). They include many little sketches in blue ballpoint, including one of a bowler-hatted head perched on the seat of a chair, and a bust smoking a cigarette with a military helmet spike protruding from his skull. There is also a series of sketches of a hen studying a blackboard with drawings of eggs in cups - the finished painting, Variante de la Tristesse, loses the blackboard and perches hen and eggs perilously on top of a wall - and a sketch of dark trees under a night sky.
LOS ANGELES, CA.- The Getty Research Institute (GRI) announced today that it has acquired an important group of letters and postcards from the Belgian surrealist René Magritte.
The group of over forty autograph letters and postcards to the Belgian Surrealist poet Paul Colinet documents Magritte’s life and career from 1934, about the time the two Surrealists met, to 1957, when Colinet passed away. They number about fifty pages, and also include a telegram, a typescript copy of a letter, and eight letters and postcards from Colinet, all contained in a brown morocco binder. The correspondence was auctioned at Sotheby’s on June 18 by a collector who acquired the group of letters in London in 1987, following the death of Georgette Magritte, the artist’s widow. They have been in the collector’s possession in the United States since then.
The collection of letters adds to the already impressive archival holdings on Magritte at the GRI, to be found in correspondence with Guy Rosey, Noël Arnaud, and Marcel Lecomte, and the papers of E.L.T. Mesens and James Thrall Soby, among others. Together, these holdings offer a valuable glimpse of Magritte within the context of both his personal life and career and Surrealism’s spread into Belgium and beyond.