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Pablo Picasso's "La Gommeuse" sells for $67.45 million in windfall for US tycoon
Pablo Picasso, La Gommeuse. Oil on canvas, 31 7/8 by 21 1/4 in.



NEW YORK (AFP).- A Picasso picture of a cabaret artist, which carries a second painting on the reverse, sold for $67.45 million in New York Thursday, scoring a windfall for American billionaire Bill Koch.

It was the top lot of the season so far, proving a savvy investment for the Republican party donor who paid just $3 million for the canvas in 1984 and later discovered he got two for the price of one.

Sotheby's had valued the canvas, "La Gommeuse," at $60 million. It was painted in Paris in 1901 when the artist was just 19 years old and grieving the suicide of a close friend.

In 2000, during restoration work, Koch discovered that there was another painting on the reverse -- a mocking depiction of Picasso's art dealer -- that had been hidden under the lining for a century.

It was a lucrative night for Koch. Sotheby's also sold his Monet "Nympheas" (water lilies) study in oil for $33.85 million, clearing its minimum pre-sale estimate of $30 to $50 million.

Another highlight was a Vincent van Gogh, which sold for $54 million.

"Paysage sous un ciel mouvemente" (moving sky over a landscape) was painted a year before the artist's death and shows storm clouds over fields outside Arles, France.

And one of the finest works by Polish-Russian painter Kazimir Malevich still remaining in private hands, called "Mystic Suprematism," sold for $37.8 million.

A small van Gogh of a fat baby in a bonnet, "Le Bebe Marcelle Roulin" smashed its pre-sale estimate by selling for $7.64 million following a prolonged and frenetic bidding war.

David Norman, co-chairman of worldwide impressionist and modern art, joked that it was the most expensive portrait of a baby he had seen in 30 years.

The auction saw Sotheby's kick back with a strong performance after a rather sluggish sale on Wednesday of $377 million worth of art collected by self-made billionaire Alfred Taubman, a former Sotheby's chairman.

Taubman did a brief stint in jail in 2002 for price fixing.

The next week sees Christie's and Sotheby's go head to head in auction sales six months after the spring season smashed a string of records and netted more than $2.6 billion for the rival auction houses.

The most expensive lots this season are a sumptuous nude by Modigliani valued at $100 million, and a pop art masterpiece from Roy Lichtenstein estimated at $80 million.

Both go under the hammer at Christie's.


© 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse










Today's News

November 6, 2015

Leading Turkish auction house Antik A.S. announces Modern & Contemporary Art auction

Pablo Picasso's "La Gommeuse" sells for $67.45 million in windfall for US tycoon

American Museum of Natural History announces conceptual design for the Gilder Center

Hitler marble bust by official sculptor Josef Thorak found buried in Gdansk, Poland

Asian collector snaps up $43 million Amedeo Modigliani painting at Sotheby's in New York

Stephen Salny donates significant works on paper collection to Rose Art Museum

Exhibition presents Dalí masterpieces in dialogue with China's most established and emerging artists

Roden Crater's Skystone Foundation names art historian Yvette Y. Lee Executive Director

Twister, Super Soaker water gun, puppets join the National Toy Hall of Fame

Sotheby's Russian Sales on December 1st to feature masterworks spanning three centuries

"Palaces Partially Destroyed" exhibit opens at Fisher's Patricia O'Keefe Ross Art Gallery

Bates College Museum of Art showcases Occupy posters, digital montages by Maine's Jeffery Becton

Exhibition of new paintings by Peter Doig opens at Michael Werner Gallery in New York

A record $2,217,619 achieved by Lark Mason Associates for Asian Works of Art

Mary Boone Gallery presents an exhibition of new paintings by Peter Saul

A major work by French artist Sophie Ristelhueber now on view at the National Gallery of Canada

Pavel Aleksandrovich Svedomsky's "A Kiss" leads Bonhams' Russian Sale

Artists who shaped the modern Greek identity at Bonhams Greek Art Sale

Camille Henrot's first exhibition at Metro Pictures opens in New York

Imperial porcelain and works of art made for the Qing court to be offered at Bonhams Hong Kong

Attributed Charles Le Brun work key to art history re-emerges in marketplace at Michaan's

Last chance to see: José-María Cano's latest series of encaustic paintings at Riflemaker

Imperial Prussian centerpiece highlights Fine Silver & Objects of Vertu at Heritage Auctions

World renowned galleries return to 22nd annual SOFA CHICAGO




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