Monet and Matisse help Sotheby's beat London auction record in £186m night

The auction house now holds the record for the highest London sales total

Jess Denham
Wednesday 04 February 2015 16:50
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'Le Grand Canal' by Claude Monet is auctioned at Sotheby's in London
'Le Grand Canal' by Claude Monet is auctioned at Sotheby's in London

Monet and Matisse have helped Sotheby’s break the record for the highest sales total at any London auction after figures reached a massive £186 million.

Buyers came from 35 countries, with five impressionist Monet pieces taking more than £55 million.

Oil painting “Le Grand Canal” from 1908 was the most expensive of the night at £23.7 million, while “Les Peupliers a Giverny” from the Museum of Modern Art in New York also proved popular.

Matisse’s “Odalisque au Fauteuil Noir” portrait surpassed its £12 million estimate to sell for £15.8 million and French painter Toulouse-Lautrec’s “Au Lit: Le Baiser” took £10.8 million in its auction debut.

'Odalisque au Fauteuil Noir' by Matisse

Russian modernist Malevich’s self-portrait fetched £5.8 million to break the record for a work on paper after it sold for £163,000 just eleven years ago.

“Undoubtedly it was a great night for Monet, yet we also saw significant depth of bidding right across the sale,” said Helena Newman of Sotheby’s.

“The success of the auction reflects the outstanding quality of the exceptionally rare, museum-quality works offered.”

Sotheby’s biggest auction to date was held in 1989 in New York, when totals reached a staggering $422 million.

Rival auction house Christie’s holds its own banner sale in London tonight.

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