Pissarro masterwork leads record-breaking sale

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The highest ever total for any Sotheby’s auction held in London was achieved last night with a sale of Impressionist, Modern and Surrealist art that brought in £163.5 million.

Included in the sale were works from the private collection of Jan Krugier Soar, which set records for works on paper by Picasso, Giacometti and Bonnard.

An exceptional, museum-quality restituted masterwork by Camille Pissarro, Boulevard Montmartre, matinée de printemps, made £19.7 million – a record for the artist at auction.

One of the most important Impressionist masterworks to come to auction in the last decade, the painting was originally owned by Max Silberberg, a Jewish industrialist based in Breslau, who assembled one of the finest pre-war collections of 19th and 20th Century art in Germany.

Helena Newman, Chairman of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Department Europe, said: “It is an honour to be entrusted with offering the greatest work by Camille Pissarro ever to appear at auction – a work that encompasses such a richly painted canvas and a supremely elegant composition.”

Other highlights included Vincent Van Gogh’s L’Homme est en mer (1889), which soared to £16.8 million – the highest price for a painting by the artist sold at auction in London for 25 years – and Pablo Picasso’s Composision (Composition au Minotaure) which sold for £10.4 – a record price for a work on paper by the artist at auction.

Global participation was evident throughout the sale process, with works consigned from 10 countries sought-after by participants from an unprecedented 44 countries. The auction achieved highest number of registered bidders ever for a London sale of Impressionist & Modern Art at Sotheby’s.

With 88.8% sold by lot, the auction marks the fifth consecutive evening sale of Impressionist & Modern Art at Sotheby’s worldwide with a sell-through rate over 80%. Nearly 60% of sold works brought prices above their high estimates. 37 works were sold for over £1 million; 52 works were sold for over $1 million.