Cy Twombly's $50m masterpiece hits the market after 25 years
A masterpiece by Cy Twombly is heading to auction at Christie's in May, having been hidden from the public for more than 25 years.
Leda and the Swan, painted in 1968, has been described as a "magnum opus of the artist’s oeuvre".
The painting was inspired by the Ancient Greek myth, in which Leda (wife of King Tyndareus of Sparta) is seduced and raped by Zeus, who has disguised himself in the form of a swan, resulting in the birth of two sets of twins: Helen and Pollox, and Castor and Clytemnestra.
Twombly created two large-scale paintings based on the tale, with the other now part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Leda and the Swan has had just two private owners since it was painted almost 50 years ago, and has remained hidden from public view for more than a quarter of a century.
The painting now comes to the market in a public auction for the first time, and is estimated to sell for $35 - $55million.
The current auction record for Cy Twombly was set in November 2015, when his 1968 work Untitled (New York City), sold at Sotheby's in New York for $70,530,000.
"This is a remarkable painting that has been pursued by collectors for decades," said Koji Inoue, International Director of Post-War and Contemporary Art at Christie's.
"Impregnated with paint passionately and poetically applied with the hand, brush and stick, Leda and the Swan, is one of the most vital canvases created during this transformative period in the artist’s career.
"Given its tremendous importance within the context of both Twombly’s oeuvre, and the canon of Post-War art, we are honored to have the opportunity to offer this work to the market after nearly thirty clandestine years."
The Christie's Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale takes place in New York on May 17.
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