A painting by Belgian artist Rene Magritte estimated to be worth more than £44 million is to appear in London ahead of auction.
The Empire Of Light, considered to be “a masterpiece of 20th century art”, will be exhibited at Sotheby’s auction house in the capital in March.
The series of paintings depicts a paradoxical image of a night time scene beneath a sunlit sky.
It was created in 1961 for Baroness Anne-Marie Gillion Crowet, the daughter of Magritte’s patron, and has remained in the family ever since.
The baroness and Magritte became lifelong friends and she featured in a number of the artist’s most significant works.
Prior to the auction, The Empire Of Light will be publicly exhibited in Sotheby’s galleries in Los Angeles Hong Kong New York and London.
Helena Newman, Chairman of Sotheby’s Europe and Worldwide Head of Impressionist & Modern Art said the work would represent “a new benchmark” for the global art market.
She said: “With its impressive scale, the cinematic painting draws the viewer into Magritte’s timeless world.
“Its immediacy and power encapsulate the ‘star quality’ that places Magritte firmly among the pantheon of the market’s most sought-after artists.
“We could not be more thrilled to start the new year by presenting this show-stopping work in London, where it represents a new benchmark both for the artist and the global art market.”
The pieces will form part of Sotheby’s Modern & Contemporary Evening Auction in London on March 2.