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    Rene Magritte – Le Principe du Plaisir (The Pleasure Principle)

    There was a new work record for Rene Magritte at Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art sale in New York last night.  The record breaking portrait of his patron Edward James – a surrealist masterpiece called Le Principe du Plaisir (The Pleasure Principle) – made $26.8 million after a seven way bidding battle.  The auction brought in a total of $315.4 million.

    Egon Schiele’s 1913 Townscape Dämmernde Stadt (Die Kleine Stadt II) made $24.6 million, Oskar Kokoschka’s portrait ofJoseph De Montesquiou-Fezensac made $20.4 million (five time the artist’s previous record) and Ludwig Kirchner’s Psychologically Gripping Das Soldatenbad (Artillerymen) made $22 Million. A private collection of Fauve, Expressionist and Modern works totalled $111 million led by three Kandinsky paintings which each sold for over $20 million.

    August Uribe, Head of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Department in New York, commented“Tonight we witnessed a healthy and intelligent market responding with enthusiasm to a sale unlike any we have assembled in recent memory.  The offering was characterised by originality as well as rarity, bringing together the best examples remaining in private hands by artists not typically seen at auction, alongside important works by the leading Modernists. Bidding was truly global, evenly split between the US, Europe and Asia, which is a combination needed to drive a $300+ million total.”

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