Impressionist Art Has A $165M Night In London; Monet Fetches $30M

Claude Monet’s “Le Palais Contarini,” dating from 1908, was sold Wednesday night at Sotheby’s in London for just over $30 million, contributing to a bumper night for the Impressionist and modern art market.

In total, $165 million worth of art was sold, beating the Christies International’s total of $99 million from the night before.

According to a Bloomberg report, the Monet attracted four telephone bidders, in addition to a fixed bid from a third-party guarantor. The French master's painting was purchased by the Nahmad family for $4.2 million in 1996 and was expected to draw in the region of $21 million to $30 million.

The beginning of the evening started with a flurry of Picassos that were owned by the late Swiss businessman Branco Weiss. The pick of the 28-piece lot was the 1971 “Etreinte,” that, after triggering a bidding war, sold for $4.5 million. The lot raised more than $20 million in total that will be donated to medical research.

Despite the evening’s successes, Picasso’s self-portrait “Le Peintre,” estimated at $7.5 million to $10 million, failed to sell. It was bought in London for 3.3 million pounds in 2007.

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