Toulouse-Lautrec’s work sold for $22.4 million

A portrait by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec sold for $22.4 million (Ђ18.68 million) Tuesday at a Christie's sale of Impressionist and Modern paintings and sculptures, the highest auction price ever paid for a work by the artist.

"The Laundress," which depicts a red-haired young woman staring out a window, was sold to an anonymous phone bidder. The work, dated 1886-87, had belonged to Chicago collectors Neison and Bette Harris. The sale marked the beginning of the two-week fall auction season. It brought in $160.9 million (Ђ134.17 million). Five of the 63 pieces did not sell, including the Matisse still life "The Daisies," which had been estimated at $10 million (Ђ8.34 million) to $15 million (Ђ12.51 million).

Several pieces sold for far more than the auction house estimate, including an early still life by Paul Cezanne. French dealer Marc Blondeau landed "Apples and Cake" for $10.3 million (Ђ8.59 million), more than double the expected price, the AP reports.

Picasso's 1939 "Bust of a Woman," which depicts the artist's mistress Dora Maar, also sparked a bidding war, surpassing its $5 million (Ђ4.17 million) presale estimate to sell for $6.7 million (Ђ5.59 million).

A 1907 Monet "Waterlilies" painting sold for $14 million (Ђ11.67 million). A.M.

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