Christie's Impressionist Action

Nearly half a billion dollars' worth of art was sold at Christie's on Wednesday at the Impressionist art auction. Adele Bloch-Bauer II (the second of two portraits of Mrs. Bloch-Bauer -- the first of which, you remember, is at the Neue Gallerie and sold for $135 million back in June) was purchased for $87.9 million. The other three Klimt landscapes sold for $43.3 to $31 million. Of the entire evening's catalog, only 6 lots failed to sell, out of a total of 84. One highly anticipated painting did not go up for sale -- Picasso's "Portrait of Angel Fernández de Soto." The current owner, Andrew Lloyd Webber, reluctantly took it out of the auction because a suit has been filed by a descendent of a Jewish banker in Nazi Germany who supposedly sold the painting under duress. The funds from the sale would have gone towards Webber's foundation for theaters and actors.
The total amount of sales for the evening added up to $491 million -- the previous Christie's record was $296 million (May of 1990).

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