Beksiński masterpiece goes for record breaking ‘2 million’ at auction

Entitled ‘Postać’ (Figure), the 89x89cm oil on board went for 1.6 million PLN at the ‘Fantastic Art. Surrealism and Magic Realism’ auction which was held at Desa Unicum in Warsaw. Desa Unicum

A painting by Zdzisław Beksiński has sold for a record breaking figure of nearly 2 million PLN.

Entitled ‘Postać’ (Figure), the 89x89cm oil on board with the artist’s signature on the back went for 1.6 million PLN at the ‘Fantastic Art. Surrealism and Magic Realism’ auction which was held at Desa Unicum in Warsaw.

After the buyer’s premium was added by the auction house the value went to 1.92 million PLN making the final sale price over twice the value of the previous record for a Beksiński painting at auction.Desa Unicum

After the buyer’s premium was added by the auction house the value went to 1.92 million PLN making the final sale price over twice the value of the previous record for a Beksiński painting at auction.

Writing on their website, the auction house said: "The growing popularity of the painter and the whole trend of fantasy art over the last decade has increased the value of the painting almost 27 times."

Created in 1978, the painting with the artist’s signature on the back was put up for auction by private collectors having previously been on show at the ‘Beksiński in Warsaw’ exhibition that took place at Warsaw’s KONESER Praga Centre.Desa Unicum

Created in 1978, the painting was put up for auction by private collectors having previously been on show at the ‘Beksiński in Warsaw’ exhibition that took place at Warsaw’s KONESER Praga Centre.

Beksiński who was born in south-eastern city of Sanok in 1929 was known for specialising in dystopian surrealism, and is seen as having two distinct periods of his artistic work.

Beksiński who was born in south-eastern city of Sanok in 1929 was known for specialising in dystopian surrealism.Andrzej Rybczyński/PAP

The first was from the mid-1960s to the late 1970s, which the artist himself called his ‘fantastic’ period.

His later work focused on a central image with simplified backgrounds.

CC BY-SA 3.0

Seen as having two distinct periods, the artist said that the first from the mid-1960s to the late 1970s, was his ‘fantastic’ period.CC BY-SA 3.0

In the late 1990s he discovered digital photography and photo manipulation, something he remained interested in until his death.

His final years were filled with personal tragedy which he expressed in his art.

His later work focused on a central image with simplified backgrounds.CC BY-SA 3.0

In 1998 his wife died of cancer and a year later his son Tomasz, who was a music journalist, committed suicide.

At the age of 75 Beksiński was stabbed to death by his cleaning lady’s teenage son, who he had refused to lend money to.

In the late 1990s he discovered digital photography and photo manipulation, something he remained interested in until his death.Desa Unicum

Ten years after his death in 2005, 40 short stories that he had worked on but remained unfinished, were published.

Beksiński’s influence on modern culture has moved beyond the art and literary worlds with a number of metal bands using his paintings as their cover art, as well as several recent video games being heavily influenced by his style and paintings.