Monet helps Sotheby’s hit record £186m in sales

Sotheby’s has broken all previous sales records for an auction held in London – thanks to the power of several Monet paintings to open collectors’ purse strings.

Viewing a Monet

Viewing a Monet. Image by Chris Staley / CC BY 2.0

Interested parties from around the world became part of last night’s selling high watermark with the combined purchases of Impressionist, modern and surreal art, totting up to just over £186million.

Rivals Christie’s had held the previous record of almost £177 million for similar categories of art from twelve months ago.

Sotheby’s included five major works by Claude Monet, with Le Grand Canal, a 1908 view of Venice topping the fare. This painting was loaned out to the National Gallery for the last eight years and went under the hammer for £23.7 million.

Les Peupliers à Giverny, another Monet painting, which was auctioned off by the Museum of Modern Art in New York to aid in funding new acquisitions, made £10.8 million.

Describing it as “a great night for Monet”, Sotheby’s specialist Helena Newman highlighted how the sales showed that collectors from Asia and Russia were now able to assert themselves in this market.

Among the other big sales on the night, the Evening Standard reports, was a portrait of the great-granddaughter of the last Sultan of Turkey by Matisse.

The painting is entitled Odalisque au fauteuil noir and was sold for £15.8 million.

A rare painting by Toulouse-Lautrec - Au Lit: Le Baiser – hadn’t been publicly seen for 40 years, was sold for nearly £10.8 million.

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