$65.1 Million Manet Tops Christie's Sale

Edouard Manet's "Le Printemps" sold for $65.1 million at Christie's in New York
Edouard Manet's "Le Printemps" sold for $65.1 million at Christie's in New York

A lady with a parasol painted by Edouard Manet fetched an artist auction record price of $65.1 million on Wednesday at Christie's $166 million Impressionist and Modern art  sale in New York.

Manet's 1881 "Le Printemps" had been in the same private collection for more than a century. It was loaned to the National Gallery of Art in London. The selling price went well above the $35 million high estimate. The previous record for Manet was set in 2010 when hedge fund billionaire Steven A. Cohen sold "Self-portrait with a Palette" for $33.2 million.

Multiple bidders pursued the Manet, with New York dealer Otto Naumann reportedly beating out underbidder Acquavella Galleries to win the work. 

Bidders were less enthusiastic for a Fernand Leger's “Les Constructeurs Avec Arbre,” once owned by casino magnate Steve Wynn. The work was guaranteed by the auction house and it did not muster up the $45.5 million low bid sought by auctioneer Andreas Rumbler.

A bronze bust by Giacometti brought far more than its $6.5 million high estimate at $9.9 million, riding the waveof the $101 million "Chariot" by the artist that propelled Sotheby's $422 million sale the night before.

A growing class of wealthy elite worldwide is keeping prices at the top edging upward as they are added to the ranks of collectors in $1million and over range, say some observers.

Postwar and contemporary art auctions in NEw York are set for next week.

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