New world record price for a bronze sculpture by Salvador Dali set at Bonhams Impressionist and Modern Art sale

Bonhams Impressionist and Modern Art sale yesterday (4th February) has set a new world record for a Salvador Dali bronze sculpture among a number of outstanding results. A frenzy of international interest from the packed saleroom, online and on the telephones drove seven of the top ten lots to double, or even triple, their estimates. A great buzz from the telephone bidders set the tone:

Elephant de Triomphe by Salvador Dali (Spanish, 1904-1989) triumphed today as it sold for a staggering £446,500 setting a new world record price for a bronze by the artist. The previous record (£313,000) was blown out of the water by the colossal cast bronze emerald elephant which stands at almost 3metres in height. Elephants were used by Dalí as a symbol of the future recurring atop mosquito-like legs in many of his paintings. A golden angel lands on the elephant's jewelled saddle – a shining fanfare promising a future with great fortune.

Another highlight in the sale was Almen im Marz, Alfons Walde's wintery work showing an Austrian chalet in the snow which sold for £278,500 – triple its estimates. Bids flew in a continuous stream as multiple telephone bidders and bidders in the room pulled the auctioneer's attention in all directions.

Other top lots were two works by Joan Miro (Spanish, 1893-1983). Femme, étoile, which translates as 'Woman, Star' realised £212,500. Femme, oiseau, étoile (Woman, bird, star) was another work in high demand from bidders in the room. A lengthy stand off between two telephones took the final price to £91,300 – three times higher than its estimates.

A necklace by the surrealist artist and photographer Man Ray (American, 1890-1976), La jolie pendant realised an incredible £47,000 after an impressive battle between three persistent parties.


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to

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