Turner painting sells for auction record 29.7 million pounds

A view over Rome painted by artist JMW Turner was sold for 29.7 million pounds in London, setting a new record at auction for the British master.

"Modern Rome - Campo Vaccino" was bought Wednesday for the equivalent of 44.9 million dollars or 35.7 million euros at Sotheby's by the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the auction house said.

The previous auction record for a Turner work was 20.5 million pounds, which was set by "Giudecca, La Donne della Salute and San Giorgio" in April 2006, it said in a statement.

The 1839 masterpiece sold Wednesday was the British artist's final painting of the Italian capital, completed at a period when he was regarded as being at the height of his technical powers.

The oil painting, which fetched far more than the expected top sale price of 18 million pounds, had only appeared once on the open market since it was painted more than 170 years ago, Sotheby's said.

It was sold by a descendant of the fifth Earl of Rosebury, who bought the painting while on honeymoon in 1878, according to the auction house.

David Moore-Gwyn, from Sotheby's, hailed the "tremendous and much-deserved result".

"This breathtaking image shows the artist at his absolute best and, for collectors, it ticked all the boxes - quality, superb condition, provenance and freshness-to-the-market," he said.

The Turner sale was just the latest to smash an auction record, as confidence returns to the art market after a slowdown during the economic crisis.

It was part of a sale of Old Master and British Paintings, which made a total of 53.5 million pounds.

Another highlight of the sale was three paintings by the Brueghel dynasty of artists.

Pieter Brueghel the Younger's "The Kermesse of Saint George with the Dance Around the Maypole" sold for 2.5 million pounds, while his "The Outdoor Wedding Feast" went for 1.6 million pounds.

A Flemish village scene by Jan Brueghel the Elder made 1.2 million pounds.

Other artists whose work sold at the auction included Bernard van Orley, Jan Lievens and Isack van Ostade.

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