LONDON Feb 6 Sotheby's made its highest
ever London sale on Wednesday with an auction of impressionist,
modern and surrealist art, a day after rival Christie's set a
record high for any sale ever held in London by an auction
Prices for top-end art have soared in recent years, driven
by an expanding class of super-rich collectors in emerging
markets and easy money from the world's central banks.
Sotheby's said buyers from 44 countries took home 79 works
by artists such as Picasso and Van Gogh, worth a total of 163
million pounds ($266 million).
Top lot of the auction was a painting by Danish-French
impressionist Camille Pissarro, "Le Boulevard Montmartre,
matinee de printemps", which sold for 20 million pounds.
The sale also included 37 works from a private collection of
Holocaust survivor Jan Krugier, which included pieces by
Picasso, Goya, Degas and Alberto Giacometti and sold for 53
Sotheby's said the number of bidders registered for
Wednesday's sale was the highest ever for a London sale of
modern and impressionist art by the auction house.
Sales at the New York-based auction house grew by almost 20
percent last year, making it the fastest growing art auctioneer
($1=0.6137 British pounds)
(Reporting by Julia Fioretti; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)