René Magritte’s La corde sensible, which sold for less than his Le principe du plaisir this week. Picture: CHRISTIE'S
René Magritte’s La corde sensible, which sold for less than his Le principe du plaisir this week. Picture: CHRISTIE'S

New York — A painting by René Magritte sold for $26.8m on Monday at a Sotheby’s auction in New York, setting a record for a work by the Belgian surrealist.

The painting, Le principe du plaisir, topped the price fetched by La corde sensible, which was sold in February 2017 in London for $17.9m.

Sotheby’s had estimated the painting sold on Monday as being worth $15m to $20m. It said seven collectors — an unusually high number — bid for it. Other paintings on offer on the second night of the autumn art auctions in New York also surpassed their estimated value.

René Magritte’s Le principe du plaisir. Picture: SOTHEBY'S
René Magritte’s Le principe du plaisir. Picture: SOTHEBY'S

Improvisation on Mahogany by Russian-born Wassily Kandinsky, fetched $24.2m, compared to its pre-sale estimate of $15m to $20m.

A painting that was supposed to be one of the main attractions of the auction failed to lure a buyer. It was Marsden Hartley’s Pre-War Pageant, considered to be one of the first totally abstract works in the history of American art.

It was estimated at $30m, nearly five times the record for that US painter.

On Sunday, the Vincent van Gogh painting Coin de jardin avec papillons, estimated at $40m, went begging at a Christie’s auction of Impressionist and Modern art.

The fall art auctions continue through Thursday evening.

AFP