Art lovers came out in force and with deep pockets as a world famous auction house recorded a record total.
Sotheby’s celebrated the highest figure for any auction held in London, with evening sales amounting to €246.6 million.
Buyers featured from 35 countries with collectors from Asia and Russia “asserting themselves as a continued force in the market”, according to Helena Newman of Sotheby’s.
The collection on offer at the 271-year-old auction house featured impressionist, modern and surrealist art including works by Claude Monet and Henri Matisse.
Five pieces by Monet took €73.9 million in total, including Les Peupliers à Giverny, on offer for the first time from the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which sold for €14.3 million.
Matisse’s Odalisque au Fauteuil Noir portrait sold for €21 million, going well beyond its estimate of €15.9 million.
Newman, co-head of Impressionist & Modern Art Worldwide at Sotheby’s, said: “Building on the momentum of Sotheby’s record Impressionist & Modern Art sales last year, we’re delighted to launch the first sale season of 2015 with a new high for art auctions in London – the highest sale total ever achieved in any category.
“Broadening the international reach, we saw an all-time high of 35 countries participating in this field, and collectors from Asia and Russia asserting themselves as a continued force in the market.
“Undoubtedly, it was a great night for Monet, yet we also saw significant depth of bidding right across the sale. The success of tonight’s auction reflects the outstanding quality of the exceptionally rare, museum-quality works offered.”