A Surreal Legacy – Selected works of art from The Edward James Foundation, Christie’s London, King Street, London SW1, 15 December 2016,
Edward James (1907-1984) was a notable patron and art collector and one who particularly embraced Surrealism and indeed transformed Monkton House on the West Dean estate into a Surrealist-inspired home. It was an interest that first started when he lived in Paris as a young man and he became a patron and close friend of artists and writers such as Paul Éluard, André Breton René Magritte and Salvador Dalí. The latter said of him “Edward is as insanely relentless as myself”. He was also a patron of the Russian Neo-Romanticist Pavel Tchelitchew and James built up a large collection of his works and some of these are in this sale.
As well as the Surrealist works there is a mixture of pieces from West Dean House that reflects the taste and lifestyle of its various owners, including James’s father. They are being sold to continue the work of the Edward James Foundation which is based at West Dean.
Christie’s UK Chairman, Orlando Rock says: “Edward James was touched by genius – and the inspirational Surrealist fantasies that he created at Monkton and elsewhere are testimony to his visionary patronage. This eclectic auction embraces the contrasting and pioneering tastes of several generations of this Anglo-American family and will raise funds to safeguard the future of the educational Foundation at West Dean, through which Edward James sought to secure future generations of artistic creativity.”