* Five auctions could net $380 million, Christie's says
* Picasso "odalisque" selling first time in 55 years
* Global market "continues to expand", Christie's says
By Michael Roddy
LONDON, Jan 13 A Picasso portrait of his lover
and eventual wife Jacqueline Roque and a canvas by Belgian
surrealist painter Rene Magritte are among the star attractions
of February auctions that Christie's said on Monday could net
almost $380 million.
Christie's estimated that those works and others to be sold
in four auctions on Feb. 4-5 and a fifth on Feb. 7 in London
could raise between 156.7 million and 228.3 million pounds ($260
The Picasso, entitled "Femme au costume turc dans un
fauteuil" (Woman in a Turkish costume seated in a chair), 1955,
is valued at 15-20 million pounds and is on sale for the first
time in 55 years, Christie's said in a press release.
The painting is one of a small group of portraits by Pablo
Picasso showing Roque in the costume of an "odalisque", a woman
of the harem. It is "a colourful, sexually charged celebration
of Jacqueline, whom Picasso would marry six years later and who
would become one of the most important muses of the artist's
life", the release said.
Magritte's "Les chasseurs au bord de la nuit" (The hunters
at the edge of night), 1928, was part of an exhibition of the
painter's works at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and has
an estimated value of 6-9 million pounds, Christie's said.
The Picasso is the centrepiece of an Impressionist and
Modern Art Evening Auction on Feb. 4 while the Magritte is in
The Art of The Surreal Auction on the same day.
"This stellar sale presents international collectors and
institutions with rare opportunities to acquire exceptional
works with illustrious provenance by key impressionist and
modern masters," Jay Vincze, Christie's International Director
and head of its Impressionist and Modern Art Department, said in
"The global market for this category continues to expand and
deepen year on year, underpinned by passion for the beauty of
the period and an increasingly far-reaching appreciation and
understanding of the importance of late 19th century and early
20th century art movements."
The surrealist auction is comprised of 54 lots. In addition
to the Magritte it features Joan Miro's "Femmes et oiseaux"
(Women and Birds), 1968, estimated to be worth 4-7 million
pounds, and Carlo Carra's "Solitudine" (Solitude), with an
estimated value of 2.5-3.5 million pounds.
Also up for grabs is Magritte's "Le regard interieur" (The
inner gaze), from the collection of the late Valerie Eliot,
widow of poet T.S. Eliot, with an estimated value of
"Twenty-five years on from holding the inaugural standalone
Dada and Surrealism sale and 14 years since Christie's
established its annual auction in the field, the global demand
for this pioneering movement continues to go from strength to
strength," Olivier Camu, Christie's deputy chairman for
Impressionist and Modern Art, said in the release.
The impressionist auction features works from collections
including Modern Masters: Works from an Important Private Swiss
Collection. It includes Juan Gris's "Nature morte à la nappe à
carreaux" (Still life with checquered tablecloth), 1915, valued
at 12-18 million pounds, and Piet Mondrian's "Composition No. 2
with Blue and Yellow", 1930, estimated at 8-12 million pounds.
Other works in the sale include Alberto Giacometti's "Trois
hommes qui marchent I" (Three men walking I), 1948-1950, valued
at 6.2-8 million pounds; "Les cylindres colores" (The coloured
cylinders), 1918, by Fernand Léger, formerly in the collection
of Louis Carre, the dealer who was closely associated with the
artist, estimated at 5-7 million pounds; and Claude Monet's
"L'Eglise de Varengeville; soleil couchant" (The Church of
Varengeville; at sunset) 1882, estimated at 4-7 million.
($1 = 0.6066 British pounds)
(Editing by Elizabeth Piper)