Monet painting fetches $35 million at New York auction

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A Monet sold for nearly $35 million at auction Wednesday evening, Sotheby’s said, marking a solid start to New York’s spring art sales.

Both Sotheby’s and rival auction house Christie’s launched their spring season Monday. Though the global art market softened last year, strong sales in London and Paris have sparked optimism for 2024.

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Claude Monet’s “Meules a Giverny,” which the French impressionist painted in 1893, went for $34.8 million after a bidding war.

Meanwhile, British-Mexican artist Leonora Carrington broke her own auction record when her “Les Distractions de Sotheby's art handlers hold Claude Monet's "Bennecourt" during a media preview for Sotheby's upcoming "New York Marquee Evening Sales" on May 3, 2024, in New York City.Dagobert” sold for $28.5 million.

The new record places Carrington among the top five most valuable women artists at auction, Sotheby’s said -- and among the top four surrealist artists, “overtaking Max Ernst and Salvador Dali.”

Christie’s, meanwhile, sold some $115 million in contemporary art the prior evening, including a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting for $32 million.

At the Phillips auction house, Basquiat’s “Untitled (ELMAR)” sold for $46.5 million.

Amid the war in Ukraine and its fallout -- which has led to a drop in Russian buyers -- art auction sales worldwide fell to $14.9 billion last year, compared with $16 billion in 2022.

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