May 30, 2012 4:59 pm

Key work by Miró to lead auction

Joan Miró Peinture Étoile Bleue

A painting described by the Spanish Catalan artist Joan Miró as one of his “key works” is to lead an auction of impressionist and modern art at Sotheby’s next month. It is expected to fetch between £15m and £20m.

“Peinture (Étoile Bleue)” forms part of Miró’s dream paintings cycle, a period during which he was heavily influenced by the nascent surrealist movement. Surrealist ideas informed his work and methods throughout his career.

The 1927 painting sold for €11.5m in Paris in 2007, setting a record for the artist at auction.

Prices have been rising in the market for surrealist art. Three months ago, Christie’s sold Miró’s “Painting-Poem” for a record £16.8m. His “Tête Humaine” sold for $14.9m – at the high end of its $10m-$15m estimate – in New York this month.

“Peinture (Étoile Bleue)” is coming to market during a period of intense interest in Miró. Last year saw several exhibitions of his work around the world, including at London’s Tate Modern.

Helena Newman, who chairs Sotheby’s impressionist and modern art department, Europe, said the work was “one of Miró’s most important paintings, effortlessly bridging the transition between figurative and abstract art”.

Sotheby’s smashed records this month when an 1895 version of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” sold for almost $120m, the highest price ever for an art work, to an undisclosed collector.

Other highlights from the impressionist and modern art sale on June 19 include “Homme Assis” by Pablo Picasso, which is estimated to sell for between £6m and £9m, “Nu Debout” by Pierre Bonnard, which could sell for up to £5.5m, according to Sotheby’s, and “Mother and Child with Apple” by Henry Moore, which could fetch £2.8m.

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