A restituted painting led Sotheby's sale of Impressionist, modern and surrealist art in London on Wednesday, during the first week of a series of sales that test this year's art market. The sale brought a total 163.5 million pounds ($266.8 million), behind rival Christie's total for the night before, but up 57 percent from a year ago. Of 89 offered lots, 10 went unsold, according to Sotheby's.
Leading the sale was Camille Pissarro’s 1897 spring scene of Paris’s Montmartre which brought 19.7 million pounds, almost doubling its presale high estimate of 10 million pounds.
Once owned by Jewish industrialist Max Silberberg, the Pissarro was part of a forced sale of his 19th and 20th century art collection by the Nazis. Silberberg died during the Holocaust and his heir reclaimed the painting in 2000 from the Israel Museum.
From Geneva art dealer Jan Krugier, a Holocaust survivor who died in 2008, 37 works fetched 53.3 million pounds, almost twice its presale high estimate of 27.1 million pounds. Mostly drawings from the dealer's personal collection, the group included Picasso’s “Composition au Minotaure (Composition Minotaur),” which sold for 10.4 million pounds, above the high estimate of 2.5 million pounds.