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Record-breaking Rodin sculpture tops Sotheby’s $144.5 million art sale

A sculpture by August Rodin has achieved a new world-record price at Sotheby’s, as part of a $144.5 million sale of Impressionist & Modern Art in New York.
Conceived in 1884, L’Éternel Printemps was carved from a single block of marble in 1901-3 and ranks amongst Rodin’s most celebrated depictions of the two embracing lovers.
Offered with an estimate of $8-$12 million, the sculpture sold for $20,410,000, setting a new world record for a work by the French sculptor.

"Tonight we saw a discerning and efficient market at work," said Simon Shaw, Co-Head, Worldwide, Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Department. "Connoisseurs were drawn to works that displayed a key combination of unrivaled quality, great rarity and exceptional provenance.

"Such was the case with Auguste Rodin’s romantic marble sculpture L’Éternel Printemps, which inspired competitive and international bidding that drove the work to achieve $20.4 million – marking a new auction record for the artist. Tonight was the first time a marble of this subject has come to auction in over two decades, demonstrating the type of rarity that is a main driver of success in today’s market."

Leading the paintings on offer was Maurice de Vlaminck’s Fauvist masterpiece Sous-bois, a landscape depicting a scene near Chatou, along the Seine in Paris. Offered from the collection of philanthropist Sarah Campbell Blaffer after more than 60 years, the painting sold for $16.4 million.

There were strong results for Paul Signac’s Pointillist view of Saint-Tropez, Maisons du port, Saint-Tropez, which sold for $10.7 million; Claude Monet’s early Impressionist work Camille à l’ombrelle verte, which sold for $9.4 million; and Charles Manguin’s 1906 painting Les Oliviers à Cavalière, which set a new auction record for the artist when it sold for $1.2 million.

The sale also offered six works from the collection of New York philanthropists Mamdouha & Elmer Holmes Bobst, assembled during the 1960s and untouched for more than half a century. The collection, which achieved a total of $20.6 million, was led by Monet’s Marée bassee aux Petites-Dalles, which doubled its high estimate to sell for $9.9 million.

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