In this Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013 photo, auction house workers adjust Joan Miro’s 1968 oil painting “Women and Birds” which has an estimated sale price of 4 to 7 million British pounds in a room with other works of Miro at Christie’s auction house in central London. A trove of 85 works by the Spanish surrealist master that were acquired by the Portuguese government from a failing bank is up for auction with an estimated value of 30 million British pounds ($49 million). (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
LONDON (AP) — A trove of 85 works by Spanish surrealist master Joan Miro acquired by the Portuguese government from a failing bank is up for auction with an estimated value of 30 million pounds ($49 million).
Christie’s auction house said Friday the collection is “one of the most extensive and impressive offerings of works by the artist ever to come to auction,” and covers seven decades of Miro’s career.
The Barcelona-born artist was influential in the surrealist movement in the 1920s and developed his signature colorful style, full of squiggles and symbols, during a long career that lasted until his death at 90 in 1983.
The auction includes the 1968 oil painting “Women and Birds” — two recurring motifs in Miro’s work — which has an estimated sale price of 4-to-7 million pounds ($6.5 million to $11.5 million); and the 22-by-197 centimeter (8 1/2 inches by 78 inches) oil-on-canvas “Painting,” valued between 2.5 million and 3.5 million pounds ($4 million to $5.7 million).
The sale also includes works on paper and a series of paintings on Masonite from the 1930s. The cheapest lots start at about 10,000 pounds ($16,400).
Olivier Camu, Christie’s deputy head of Impressionist and modern art, said the sale gave collectors with a wide variety of budgets a chance to “celebrate and engage with the creative genius and joyous immediacy of Miro’s work.”
Portugal took ownership of the 85 Miro works when it nationalized the struggling Banco Portugues de Negocios, or BPN, during the 2008 global banking crisis. BPN was later sold to Angolan-Portuguese Banco BIC.
The works will be sold during three auctions at Christie’s in London Feb. 4 and 5.
The current auction record for a Miro is almost $37 million for “Painting (Blue Star)” in 2012.