Camille Pissarro's Boulevard Montmarte sets new artist record

Camille Pissarro's Le Boulevard Montmartre, matinee de printemps has set a new record for the artist at auction, making £19.6m ($31.9m) at Sotheby's London on February 5.

The 1897 painting led the Impressionist, Modern and Surrealist Art Evening Sale and was estimated to achieve around £10m ($16.2m), resulting in an increase of 96%.

Camille Pissarro Boulevard Printemps
Boulevard Printemps is regarded as the finest work by Pissarro to have ever come to auction

It shattered the Danish-French painter's previous record, set at $14.6m for a set of four paintings in 2008.

Le Boulevard Montmarte was formerly owned by German-Jewish industrialist Max Silberberg, until the Nazis forced him to auction his entire collection in 1935. Silberberg later died in Auschwitz.

In 1997, the work was donated to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem who returned it to Gerta Silberberg, Max's heir, in 2000.

Helena Newman, the chair of Sotheby's impressionist and modern art department in Europe, commented prior to the sale: "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."

Bolero Violet, a painting by Henri Matisse (1869-1954), made £9.1m ($14.9m) against an £8.5m ($13.8m) estimate - an increase of 7.6%.

The piece, a portrait of the Russian princess Helene Galitzine, dates to 1937, and is considered a classic demonstration of Matisse's mastery of light and colour.

This week's impressionist and modern art sales in London saw records broken for the cubist painter Juan Gris, at Christie's, and Salvador Dali, at Bonhams.

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