René Magritte’s La Valse Hésitation, €9.5m (£8.26m) at Sotheby’s.

Image courtesy of Sotheby’s

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Modernités on October 19 was followed the next day by Impressionist and Modern art plus an Impressionist and Modern sale from October 13-23.

The highlight of the Modernités auction proved, as expected, to be a work by René Magritte (1898-1967) that was making its first appearance at auction.

La Valse Hésitation, a 16 x 21½in (40 x 55cm) signed oil on canvas from 1955, depicts two masked apples shrouded in shadows set against cloud-flecked bright blue sky, all characteristic motifs of the artist and illustrating the combination of day meeting night.

The painting had not been seen in public since 1979, when it was the subject of an exhibition at the Galerie Isy Brachot, and since then had been in three private collections.

Eight canvases of this subject, either as La Valse Hésitation or its nocturnal variation, Prêtre marié featuring a dark sky and sunlit apples, are known.

With interest from several collectors bidding on the phone, La Valse Hésitation, which had a an irrevocable bid, sold for a hammer price of €9.5m (£8.26m), just under the lower end of its €10.5m-15.5m estimate.

Klein trademark technique


Yves Klein’s Accord Bleu RE52, €2.1m (£1.82m) at Sotheby’s.

Image courtesy of Sotheby’s

Another of the top lots was Yves Klein’s (1928-62) Accord Bleu RE52, one of the artist’s relief-éponges, using his trademark IKB blue dry pigment in resin, natural sponges and pebbles on board.

The 20½in x 4ft 6in (52cm x 1.36m) work from 1958, which was signed, titled, dated 58 and inscribed on the reverse, was formerly part of the Brooklyn Museum collection in New York.

Offered with an irrevocable bid, it sold for €2.1m (£1.82m) against a €4m-7m guide.