Reevaluating Undervalued Surrealist Art –

Reevaluating Undervalued Surrealist Art –

miroA little while ago I wrote a post about rise of the value of Surrealism. That post was an general introduction to the Surrealist movement so I will now, in continuation from the last post, explain the factors that have led to an increase in the popularity and value of Surrealist art. If you haven’t read the previous post on Surrealism you can do so here:

Considering that Surrealism is such a well known movement thanks to artists such as Dali and Miro, the fact that Sotheby’s didn’t hold an auction devoted to Surrealism until December 2000 is rather telling. The event that appears to have triggered a slow revival in the interest of work by Surrealism was the auction of Andre Breton’s collection of paintings, books, manuscripts and other items from his estate. The auction took place 35 years after Breton’s death and included a massive 5500 items that belonged to Breton. Because of the massive number of lots, a series of auctions were required which took place over ten days between the 1st and the 18th of April 2003 in France. An eight volume auction catalogue was required to list all the items which sold for a total of US$50.1 million smashing the US$32.6 million pre-sale estimate. Another boost to the popularity of Surrealism was the auction of the only known complete copy of Breton’s Surrealist Manifesto in May of this year (2008) which sold for 3.2 million euros in Paris. This document is the ultimate guide for Surrealist artists that is, in essence, the definition of Surrealism and an explanation of the philosophy behind the concept.

The record for a Surrealist work was also recently broken when a work by Miro titled “La caresse des étoiles” was sold by Christie’s for US$17.1 million. This work was last sold in 2004 by Christie’s for US$11.1 million. According to “prices in the segment (Surrealism) are reaching new peaks, having progressed another 21% over the first 9 months of this year. Over 10 years, the movement’s price index has gained 214.”

It is fair to say that the rapidly progressing and ground breaking contemporary artists have also contributed to the increase in the acceptance of the often bizarre and controversial subject matter of Surrealist works. As contemporary artists constantly challenge the boundaries of what is acceptable and tolerable people tend to become more accepting and gain greater understanding of such work. This means that people are then able to appreciate and understand the challenging concepts and philosophies behind the Surrealist works and the bizarre way that those philosophies and concepts were depicted. A greater understanding and appreciation of the Surrealist movement and it’s background has contributed to the rise in popularity and value of Surrealist works of art. Prices should continue to rise as the massive disparity between the prices paid for top Surrealist works and major works from other modern art movements closes.

“La caresse des étoiles” by Joan Miro

**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.

11 Responses

  1. They are much satisfied for yours interesting market d’ art of the great surrealists of the past. It occupies to you also of the contemporary artists like me? I would have much to say to the contemporary society in such argument, it would appeal to a your book review to me, it would help introduces me me in Australia. With Walter gratefulness

  2. thank you,
    Nick for your informative report
    on the area of surreal art,
    my best wishes to you

  3. If you look at the massive popularity and scale of book sales for surrealists such as Mark Ryden, Dali & H.R Giger, there is a surprising discrepancy between the prices paid for their paintings in comparison to what people would pay for a picasso or a hirst.

  4. Bravo!
    What took so long? I waited all my life for this to happen (and I am not getting any younger).
    There is a great groundswell of contemporary activity in surrealism and related movements that emerged (Vienna School of Fantastic Realism – a Retrospective show was held at the Belvedere Gallery in Vienna just this past summer), and hundreds of Visionary Artists have come together on facebook and other sites, such as beinArt and the Society for Art of Imagination.
    Discerning collectors are looking for this kind of work, and thankfully, there are more galleries now meeting the demand.

  5. Great.
    Finally the surrealism get his value like it was had always but by society motives it was neglected.

  6. Hi Nick,
    I really enjoyed your review about Reevaluating Undervalued Surrealist Art. Congratulations!
    Indeed, the revival of Surrealism started couple of years ago in Europe. It took so long for the art collectors and galleries to reconsider their attitude, but thankfully Surrealism is once again in demand. However, I have always been attracted to Metaphysical Painting that could enable me to create unique interpretations of the relationship between mind and matter. Giorgio de Chirico, Paul Delvaux and René Magritte were the guides for my soul searching I do not know about their value on the great auction catalogue, but their remarkable works are the lighthouse I am trying to stay connected with in spite of all the storms and tribulations.
    Best regards,
    Rodica Miller

  7. Seems your conversation ended.. anyway I wanted to add that it has been the presence of Hedge funders who have taken the value system to nothing more than an insider game for decades. Now perhaps the use of symbols by real talent can take its rightful place …read ” ecosymbolism” by Ana Bikic.

  8. Good Post, have you ever thought about making money for your time and effort spent on writing good articles? At SayItAloud You can write, get exposure, and possibly earn some good money doing so. Either way, I’m bookmarking you. You can click on my name to go directly to our site.%d%a%d%aI look forward to your future postings.

  9. Hmm, my personal experience tells me that my surreal art sells less than my other art styles. But then maybe it just lacks mass appeal, or is not politically-surrealistically correct.

  10. Hi, I’d just like to express my admiration of your site.I myself do an Art Business degree and throughout this year your web site really helped me out every now and then.
    Thanks for that and very best wishes for your business

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