Impressionist art sale set to break all records

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The Independent Online

The most valuable sale of Impressionist and modern art ever staged in Britain is to take place in London on Monday.

With a world-class Modigliani, five works by Picasso and one of Degas' finest pastels from his Bather series, Sotheby's is estimating a haul of £63m. This is lower than the £68.8m achieved when the British Rail pension fund sold off its collection in 1989. But with one of the strongest markets in years, boosted by the growing bands of Russian collectors and increasing interest from Indian buyers, no one expects the record not to be broken.

Simon Shaw of Sotheby's said: "London was very much eclipsed by New York during the 1990s. Now we're seeing that reversed." In terms of the quality and range of the works consigned for sale "this looks very much like a New York sale", he said. "Although we're not equal with New York, the balance is shifting very significantly. Five or six years ago we were rarely selling $10m pictures. Now we're selling quite a few."

The most expensive work is Jeanne Hebuterne (Au Chapeau) by Amedeo Modigliani, expected to make up to £12m. Other works include La Sortie du Bain by Edgar Degas, a pastel dating from around 1895. Paintings by Pablo Picasso include Le Peintre et son Modèle, estimated at up to £7m and Les Courses à Auteuil, from the start of his career in 1901, estimated at up to £2.5m. There are also works by Raoul Dufy, Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley and Gustave Caillebotte.

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