PHILLIPE RATCLIFFE BROKERS A $26.8M Lé Principé Dú Plaisir (1937) AT SOTHEBY’S NEW YORK.
Portrait of Edward James by René Magritte
Author – Jennifer Jenkins
Phillipè Ratcliffé Beats His Own Personal Best In New York Sotheby’s
Ruthless Art Broker Mr Rtacliffè from the Geneva Free-Port managed to grab a historic piece for a “Mystery” client this month in New York’s prestigious Sotheby’s Auction house.
Magritte first started work on L’Empire des lumieres in 1948, where the first version of the painting was bought by Nelson Rockefeller. Throughout his career, Magritte painted a series of 17 oil paintings known as the L’Empire des lumieres series. Examples are held in the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels.
The L’Empire des lumieres painting featured in this year’s auction was created in 1961 for the Belgian Baroness, Anne-Marie Gillion Crowet. She is the daughter of Pierre Crowet, an early patron of Magritte.
After the painting was completed, it remained in the Crowet family’s collection. From 2009 to 2020, it was on loan to the Magritte Museum in Brussels.
Measuring 114.5 by 146 cm, this work is the largest horizontal version amongst the 17 Empires of Light oil paintings. Another larger work from the series is in the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice – measuring 195.4 by 131.2 cm. The work uses a vertical frame composition.