The Toyen painting sold at auction for 35 million. But it is not the most expensive work of the painter
The work of the painter Toyen from 1956 Hidden in their paintings was sold at an auction on Sunday, November 20 in the Municipal House in Prague for 34.7 million crowns, including an auction markup of 24 percent. The starting price was 18 million crowns. Miloš Svoboda said this on behalf of the organizing company European Arts. The most expensive Toyen work sold at a domestic auction remains the painting Circus, for which the new owner paid the final price of 79.56 million crowns.
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The work of the painter Toyen from 1956 Hidden in their reflections at the auction in the Municipal House in Prague.
| Photo: CTK
The Circus is in third place in the ranking of the most expensive paintings sold at auctions in the Czech Republic, behind the painting Old Prague Motif by Bohumil Kubišta, which a buyer gave for 123.6 million crowns this May, and the work Divertimento II by František Kupka, which was sold in November 2020 for 90.24 million crowns.
The work Hidden in their reflections led to an exciting battle between several online and telephone bidders. “It was an extraordinary opportunity for domestic collectors or investors. Similar works of this quality are practically unavailable on the market today,” said Svoboda.
The work Hidden in their reflections was exhibited at the pan-European Toyen retrospective, which took place in the last two years at the National Gallery in Prague, the Kunsthalle Deutschland in Hamburg and the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris. “Toyen was able to work brilliantly with dusk and dawn, with the hour between the dog and the wolf, as her surrealist friends called this state,” said Karel Srp in his assessment of the painting.
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The auction in the Grégro Hall of the Municipal House offered collectors and the public a total of 250 pieces of classical and modern fine art. Collectors spent almost 117 million crowns and 82 percent of the items offered were successfully auctioned. Among other million-dollar items, works by František Kupka, Václav Brožík, Mikuláš Medek and Josef Šíma were auctioned. A total of 21 guns crossed the million mark.
There is traditionally a lot of interest in Toyen’s works, her painting entitled The Solitaries from 1934 was sold at auction this May for 54 million crowns, including a twenty percent auction markup.
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Toyen (1902 to 1980), real name Marie Čermínová, is, according to experts, one of the most remarkable personalities of Czech and European visual arts of the 20th century. Between 1925 and 1929, she worked in Paris, where, together with Jindřich Štyrský, she developed the original Czech painting direction – artificialism, which represented a unique and poetic alternative to the geometric abstraction and surrealism of the time. Toyen finally returned to the metropolis above the Seine in 1947 and remained loyal to the surrealist movement. In her work, she also reflected on war disasters, and the theme of eroticism pervades her entire work.
In 2000, the Gallery of the Capital City of Prague prepared a large retrospective exhibition of her. it was visited by almost 70,000 viewers at the time, which is a number unheard of in domestic gallery operations today. The great collector’s value of Toyen’s work also leads to the fact that the author is one of the artists who are most often counterfeited in the country.