LONDON – Danish-French artist Camille Pissarro’s “Le Boulevard Montmartre, Matinee de Printemps” sold for 19.9 million GBP (32.1 million USD), which is a record sale for the artist according to Sotheby’s at their Impressionist and Modern Art Sale in London on February 5, 2014.
Widely considered to be one of the most important Impressionist works to come up for sale in the last decade, the 1897 painting shows an elevated view of a typical spring scene on the famous Paris thoroughfare. The work was originally owned by Jewish industrialist Max Silberberg, who was based in Breslau. The Nazis forced him to get rid of his entire collection, and he later died in the Holocaust. The painting was restituted to his family in 2000. “It is an honour to be entrusted with offering the greatest work by Camille Pissarro ever to appear at auction — a work that encompasses such a richly painted canvas and a supremely elegant composition,” said Helena Newman, Chairman of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Department Europe, prior to the sale.
The auction also saw the highest price for a Vincent Van Gogh painting at auction in the British capital for 25 years when a bidder fought off competition from six rivals to secure “L’Homme est en mer” for £16.9 million. The work features a woman cradling a baby as she sits next to a fire. Record prices were also achieved for a print by Cubist master Picasso and for a work on paper by Swiss sculptor, painter and draughtsman Alberto Giacometti.