René Magritte sketch has twice the appeal

A double-sided sketch by the famous Belgian artist René Magritte, whose work has been immortalised in popular culture, is part of a collection of fine art that is being showcased at Yorkshire auction house Elstob Auctioneers’ next sale on May 8. 

Featuring two pencil drawings of nude figures in a double-sided gilt decorative frame, the Magritte sketch measures 21.5cm x 17.5cm and carries a price estimate of £10,000-15,000. 

Famously known for images of clouds, bowler hats, pipes and green apples, René Magritte (1898 – 1967) has left a legacy that is both iconic and instantly recognizable. In the 1999 film The Thomas Crown Affair starring Pierce Brosnan, the Magritte painting The Son of Man was prominently featured as part of the plot line. The logo of Apple Corps, The Beatles’ company is inspired by Magritte’s Le Jeu de Mourre; Paul Simon composed a song Rene and Georgette Magritte with Their Dog after the War and Tom Stoppard wrote a 1970 Surrealist play called After Magritte 

Magritte established a reputation for depicting familiar objects in unfamiliar, unexpected contexts, which often provoked questions about the relationship between reality and representation. His work has been hugely influential on pop art, minimalist art and conceptual art and Magritte’s paintings hang in art galleries around the world including the René Magritte Museum in Belgium and The Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice. 

The nude pencil studies that feature in Elstob’s sale next month has a strong provenance and came from the remaining contents of the studio of René Magritte, sold at Sothebys on July 2, 1987. On this occasion, it is being offered up for sale by a private collector.  

“Even if at first people think they don’t know the name of Magritte, they will most probably be familiar with many of his pictures that have frequently been featured in advertisements, posters, book covers and film,” said Rohan McCulloch, Paintings and Sculpture Specialist at Elstob Auctioneers. 

“Without doubt, he has left a huge cultural legacy and we are very excited to be able to offer this captivating work for sale. Its established provenance will hopefully ensure a considerable interest from collectors around the globe,” he added. 


The Fine Art & Antiques Sale also contains many other fine pieces of art. A striking portrait of Miss Hilda Wilkinson by Leeds artist Jacob Kramer (1892-1962) is anticipated to fetch £6,000-8,000. Born in the Ukraine, Kramer grew up in a poor immigrant family who settled in England. The oil painting is signed, circa 1920 and measures 90cm by 69cm. 

Another striking portrait included in the collection is by fellow Leeds artist Philip Naviasky (1894-1983). Of Polish extraction, Naviasky, studied at the Leeds School of Art before being admitted as a student of painting at the Royal Academy School. His oil on canvas portrait of Miss May is signed and dated 1925 and carries a price estimate of £1,000-1,500.