Rarely seen Van Gogh painting sells for more than US$15 million in Paris

PARIS: One of the few paintings by Vincent van Gogh that is still in private hands was auctioned for more than $ 15 million on Thursday (March 25), Sotheby’s said.

The street scene in Montmartre, exhibited in the same collection for the first time since its inception in 1887 in a century, fetched 13.09 million euros, according to the auction house.

The sales price, which was well above the estimate of 5 to 8 million euros, is a record for the artist in France.

The painting was the culmination of an auction of 33 works by masters such as Degas, Magritte, Modigliani, Klee, Rodin and his muse Camille Claudel, which were sold in an auction streamed live by Sotheby’s in Paris.

The painting was re-offered at the end of the sale in Paris after the auction house scrapped its first sale in the early afternoon – where it fetched a slightly higher sale price – due to problems with online bidding.

Other highlights included the sale of a recently restored work by Camille Pissarro, La Recolte des Pois, which raised € 3.38 million. It was originally commissioned by Van Gogh’s brother Theo.

Francis Picabia’s La Corrida achieved 3.15 million euros.


The Van Gogh from 1887, one of more than 200 paintings the Dutch post-impressionist master produced in Paris in two years, shows one of the windmills that covered Montmartre when it was just a village on the northern edge of the capital.

A couple walk and two children play in front of a wooden fence and leafless trees, which are depicted in the characteristic tan and brown tones of his “Dutch palette” and are interrupted by a bright red flag above the mill.

This period marked a turning point in Van Gogh’s career as he began exploring expressionist techniques and new uses of color in the last few years of his life, before committing suicide in 1890 at the age of 37.

It is not considered to be one of his best works.

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The last Van Gogh to be sold at public auction in 1889, Laborer in a Field, sold for $ 81 million on a sale in New York in 2017.

Professionals knew about the work, but it was cataloged only as a black and white photograph and acquired by a French family around 1920.

This week, it was on public display for the first time since it was painted 135 years ago.

“Paintings from the Montmartre series are rare: it is very likely that private buyers, the great Van Gogh collectors around the world, and probably institutions as well, will meet with great interest,” said Aurelie Vandevoorde, Sotheby’s director of Impressionism and Modernism Art in Paris, AFP said before the sale.

The identity of the buyer was not disclosed, but Claudia Mercier, an auctioneer at Mirabaud Mercier auction house who was hired by the painting’s owners, said she had been examined by the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, “who has shown serious interest in the work “.

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Among other landmark works auctioned off at Sotheby’s double sale of Impressionist and Modern art in Paris and London was a pastel by Edgar Degas called Dancer, which sold for 2.6 million euros.

In the British capital, a portrait of photographer Dora Maar by Pablo Picasso cost £ 9.3 million (US $ 12.7 million).

A triptych in spring tones by British painter David Hockney, one of the world’s most expensive living artists, did not exceed the final bid by more than £ 6.1 million, which was below original estimates.

On the other hand, the Norwegian painter Edvard Munch, who was sold for 16.2 million pounds, was a bigger success for Embrace on the Beach.

Despite Munch’s official designation as a “degenerate” artist by the Third Reich, the painting was briefly in the possession of the highest Nazi official Hermann Göring.

A self-portrait by the mercury Norwegian painter also sold for £ 3.1 million, less than estimated.

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