René Magritte (1898–1967), La corde sensible, 1960. Oil on canvas. 44⅞ x 57½ in (114 x 146 cm) René Magritte (1898–1967), La corde sensible, 1960. Oil on canvas. 44⅞ x 57½ in (114 x 146 cm)

Painted as a gift to his wife Georgette, La corde sensible, 1960, depicts a shallow-bowled crystal coupe, which legend has it was inspired by Marie Antoinette's breast, and his trademark cloud motif. The work looks set to set a new world auction record for the artist as it has been estimated to sell between £14 000 000 - 18 000 000.

To celebrate this landmark work, check out five facts that made Magritte, well, Magritte.

Magritte was not a fan of Paris

Despite many creatives flocking to the city during the early 20th century, Magritte found the city stifling. Magritte made the move to Paris in 1927, with the city eventually becoming the centre for international Surrealism. It was here that Magritte was introduced to André Breton, the leader of the Surrealism movement. In France, Surrealism was associated with ideas of automatism and the subconscious, worlds away from Magritte's quest for answers to the magic and mystery of the world.

Magritte left Paris after his wife Georgette was publicly criticised for wearing a crucifix, the couple returned to the bourgeois realm of Belgian Surrealism.

The undiscovered reality

For Magritte, everyday objects were what fascinated him. From clouds to apples, eggs and umbrellas, Magritte combined these motifs to make his most iconic works.

In his compositions, these pieces would be transformed into the peculiar and strange. Magritte described this as, ''The creation of new objects, the transformation of known objects; a change of substance in the case of certain objects: a wooden sky, for instance; the use of words in association with images; the misnaming of an object… the use of certain visions glimpsed between sleeping and waking, such in general were the means devised to force objects out of the ordinary, to become sensational, and so establish a profound link between consciousness and the external world.''

Magritte wanted the viewer to lose themselves in his bizarre and ingenious theatre, to discover a new reality.

And it was all a dream...

Magritte's 'elective affinities' philosophy came to the artist during a dream. From the 1930s, the artist sought to find an answer to the most ubiquitous and commonplace elements of everyday life, hence his explorations which led him to turn mundane objects completely on their head.

In 1932, Magritte awoke from a dream. In a semi-conscious state, he glanced over at a birdcage in his room. Magritte saw no bird in the cage, but instead an egg - this lead to a breakthrough in the artist's work.

Magritte wanted to reveal the hidden poetry between objects. The 'problem of the bird' was solved by portraying an egg in a cage; the 'problem of the door' was resolved by painting a shapeless hole cut through it.

In La corde sensible, Magritte has solved the 'problem of the cloud' by putting an empty glass under the cloud itself. In this piece, water becomes the 'elective affinity.' Magritte never again returned to the motif of the cloud and the glass as seen in this combination.

The image is what really matters

Throughout his career, Magritte rebuked all attempts to decode the meaning of his work, exclaiming ''I have nothing to express! I simply search for images, and invent and invent. The idea doesn’t matter to me: only the image counts, the inexplicable and mysterious image, since all is mystery in our life.''

And the bowler hat

René Magritte. 1965 /Duane Michals /sc René Magritte. 1965 /Duane Michals /sc

Magritte's dress sense was as deliberate and thought out as his paintings. The now iconic bowler hat was the uniform of the Belgian fonctionnaire. The bowler hat, the overcoat, represented his affectation of the suburban lifestyle of the French-speaking Belgian petit bourgeois.

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