Entertainment & Arts

Van Gogh painting L'Allee des Alyscamps sells for $66m

Van Gogh painting L'Allee des Alyscamps Image copyright Sotheby's
Image caption Van Gogh's L'Allee des Alyscamps achieved the highest price for one of his paintings since 1998

Van Gogh painting L'Allee des Alyscamps has sold for $66m (£43.5m) as the star of a $368m (£242m) impressionist and modern art sale at Sotheby's New York.

It was painted in 1888 while the artist worked with friend Paul Gauguin in Arles, France, just one month before he famously cut off his ear.

The piece had been expected to fetch $40m (£26.4m) and drew several bidders, going to an Asian private collector.

One of Monet's iconic water lilies from 1905 also sold for $54m (£35.6m).

This particular painting of the famous lily pond in the artist's garden at Giverny, France, had not been viewed in public since 1945.

It was one of five Monet works sold at the auction, which together fetched a total of $115m (£75.6m), with a sixth painting failing to sell.

Van Gogh's L'Allee des Alyscamps achieved a record for a landscape by the artist at auction, and is the highest price achieved for any work by Van Gogh since 1998.

"To have a canvas from Arles by that very self-taught artist at the height of his work marks the sale as momentous," said Clifford Edwards, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, who is a Van Gogh expert.

David Norman from Sotheby's said the same painting "struggled to make $12 million" when it was last auctioned in 2003, which only provided evidence of the "tremendous bidding power we see in the market right now".

Image copyright Sotheby's
Image caption Claude Monet’s 1905 Nympheas had been in the same private collection since 1955

The Spring art sale was Sotheby's second-highest impressionist and modern sale ever, with the auction house finding buyers for 78% of its 65 lots.

Half of the works in the sale had never been auctioned before, with three of the top lots being purchased by Asian collectors.

Monet's 1908 painting of Venice with a view of the Palazzo Ducale on the Grand Canal fetched more than $23m (£15m). It was one of the artworks the Nazis confiscated from collector Jakob Goldschmidt which was reclaimed by his son in 1960. It had descended to a grandson, who died last year.

Two other highlights of the sale came from the collections of Hollywood film moguls Samuel Goldwyn and his son, who died in January.

Pablo Picasso's Woman with a Chignon in an Armchair, a portrait of the artist's lover Francoise Gilot, sold for $29.9m (£19.6m), almost double its presale estimate of $18m (£11.8m).

Henri Matisse's Anemones and Pomegranates sold for more than $6m (£3.9m), having been bought by Goldwyn Sr just two years after it was originally painted in 1948.

Giacometti sculpture Femme de Venise VI sold for $16.2m (£10.6m).

The Spring sales continue next week when four auctions will be held at Christie's and Sotheby's. They include works by Picasso and Giacometti, which are expected to set records.

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites