Modern art sale offers Gauguin's Tahiti magic

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The Independent Online

The finest collection of Impressionist and Modern Art seen in Britain this year - including a sculpture never before seen by the public - is to be sold this week in two auctions in London.

Sotheby's will offer some of the century's best works in a two-day sale, opening on Monday, with paintings by Gauguin, Monet and Pissarro. Among them is one of Paul Gauguin's first canvases of the South Seas, Femmes au Bord de la Riviere, which dates from his first visit to Tahiti in 1891- 3. Last June, Gauguin's last landscape of Tahiti fetched pounds 5.5m at Sotheby's and this smaller work is expected to fetch pounds 1.5-2m.

Claude Monet's Matinee sur la Seine (est. pounds 1-1.25m), Degas's La Toilette (est. pounds 0.8-pounds 1m) and a selection of work from German expressionists, including Max Pechstein, Egon Schiele and Erich Heckel, are on offer as well.

On Tuesday, Christie's offers work never before seen by the public, a version of Constantin Brancusi's Le Commencement du Monde. The bronze sculpture is expected to realise up to pounds 2m. Christie's also has works by Bonnard, Picasso, Degas and Magritte.