Sotheby’s blurs the lines between real and unreal with their VR experience featuring surrealist artworks

Sotheby’s is using Virtual Reality technology to promote an upcoming sale of Surrealist artwork by artists including Dali and Magritte. The auction house has created four different VR experiences based on Salvador Dalí’s Moment de Transition, René Magritte’s Le Repas de noces, André Masson’s Hotel des Automates and Paul Delvaux’s Filles au bord de l’eau. The video must be experienced through Oculus Rift headsets and is about five minutes long.

“We wanted to create an experience that brings a fresh perspective to how people engage with art and Surrealist works really lend themselves to virtual reality as they are so rich in depth and open to interpretation of meaning, evoking another reality in a sense.

“We worked closely with the art experts in the Surrealist team at Sotheby’s to be able to create an experience that peels back the layers of each painting’s composition. VR allows the viewer to fully immerse themselves in the painting – to almost step inside it and really get a sense of what’s going on inside these dreamlike worlds,” said Nigel Hilditch, Director of Video, Sotheby’s Europe.

Viewers will enjoy a walk in a “Daliscape” – a virtual desert and witness a roar from Magritte’s majestic lion. Works at Sotheby’s auction of Surrealist works are expected to sell for as much as $14 million. It remains to be seen whether the VR experience will drive the prices up.


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