June 22 (Bloomberg) -- Edouard Manet’s “Self Portrait with a Palette” sold tonight in London for 22.4 million pounds ($33.2 million) with fees, a record for the artist at auction.
It was bought by New York dealer Franck Giraud, who was bidding in the room. The work had been estimated to fetch between 20 million pounds and 30 million pounds at hammer prices. The Manet is among 51 lots in Sotheby’s sale of Impressionist and modern works.
Two weeks of evening sales of Impressionist and contemporary works at Sotheby’s, Christie’s International and Phillips de Pury & Co. carry an estimate of 350 million pounds, more than three times last year’s total low estimate.
“It’s a great Manet,” New York art dealer Christophe van de Weghe said in an interview at the sale. “Many museums would like to have this picture. It was a good buy at the low estimate.”
The 1878 painting shows Manet dressed as a Parisian dandy, rather than as a working artist. The self portrait had last appeared at auction in New York at Christie’s 1997 sale of the collection of the Wall Street financier John Loeb, where it was bought by the Las Vegas casino developer Steve Wynn for $18.7 million. It was subsequently sold privately to Steven A. Cohen, founder of SAC Capital Advisors LP, for between $35 million and $40 million, said dealers with knowledge of the matter.
The previous highest price paid for the French artist was $26.4 million, for the 1878 street scene “La rue Mosnier aux drapeaux” at Christie’s in New York in November 1989.
Recent record auction prices for trophies by Impressionist and modern masters have encouraged collectors to sell high-value works. Pablo Picasso’s 1903 Blue Period “Portrait of Angel Fernandez de Soto (The Absinthe Drinker)” is being offered by Andrew Lloyd Webber, the composer, at Christie’s tomorrow. It is expected to raise as much as 40 million pounds, Christie’s said.
The highest price achieved at auction for a work by an Impressionist- or Post-Impressionist-period artist is the 40.9 million pounds paid for the 1919 Monet canvas “Le Bassin aux Nympheas” at Christie’s in London in June 2008.
(Scott Reyburn writes about the art market for Bloomberg News. Opinions expressed are his own.)
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