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After slump, record prices return to art

Several records were broken for artists at Sotheby’s New York auction of impressionist and modern art on Wednesday, with 181 million dollars in sales, far above the pre-auction estimate.

art and culture Updated: Nov 06, 2009 20:49 IST

Several records were broken for artists at Sotheby’s New York auction of impressionist and modern art on Wednesday, with 181 million dollars in sales, far above the pre-auction estimate.

Successes included Young Arab, by Dutch artist Kees Van Dongen, selling for 13.8 million dollars. Although not setting a record, one of the biggest stars of the auction was L’homme qui chavire, a sculpture by Alberto Giacometti estimated at eight to 12 million dollars and selling for 19.34 million dollars. The Italian sculptor's record at auction is 27.4 million dollars. Of 66 lots, 85 percent sold. “It’s a shot in the arm for the market. It’s a vote of confidence,” Simon Shaw of Sotheby’s, said.

On Tuesday, rival Christie’s impressionist and modern art sale took in under 66 million dollars, below the presale estimate of 69-97 million dollars. Notably there were no bids for a 1943 Picasso, Tete de femme, which was estimated to sell for over seven to 10 million dollars.