Records set in 20.35m pounds auction

FOUR records were set at Sotheby's sale of Impressionist and modern works last night, described by the auction house as the best of its kind in London since 1989. Eighty-four works were sold, raising pounds 20.35m.

Although one of several dealer said there were: 'There are 'no real blockbusters', 86 per cent of the items found buyers. and, as a reminder of it The sale kicked off began with some 22 works from a 135-strong collection consigned to Sotheby's by the heirs of Marie-Louise Durand-Ruel (1897-1991), the granddaughter of Paul Durand-Ruel, the inspired dealer who supported and promoted the Impressionists when others could only dismissed and attack them.

Although the Durand-Ruel name is therefore a magical one in art circles today, the works presented last night were viewed by some as disappointing.

this catalogue.' Although he acknowledged However, an extremely rare rarity of a Monet drawing, Femme a L'Ombrelle made pounds 353,500, against an expected pounds 150,000. And dismissed as Grade 2 pictures a Sisley winter landscape, La Crue du Loing a Moret (estimate pounds 350,000-pounds 450,000) and a Renoir still-life, Melon et Tomates (estimate, pounds 300,000-pounds 400,000), However, he was another dealer who was proved wrong: they sold for pounds 315,000 and pounds 144,500 respectively. The Monet was a record for a drawing by the artist.

Star lots in the mixed-owner part of the sale included Le Fardeau (La Blanchisseuse) by Daumier, the 19th-century artist better known as a master of caricature. His poignant image of a washerwoman , as worn down by life as by Daumier to appear at auction since the war - sold for pounds 1.65m. It more than doubled the artist's previous record.

The most feverish bidding of the evening was for Kandinsky's Milieu Accompagne, 1937, in which by Kandinsky, one of the founders of pure abstract scientific journals. It sold for which sold for pounds 3.02m (estimate, pounds 2.5m) to a buyer from the United States.

Other strengths of the sale included La Trahison des Images, a Magritte icon, a pipe inscribed: Ceci n'est pas une Pipe. It made pounds 143,000 (estimate, pounds 125,000 to pounds 175,000).

(Photograph omitted)

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