Manet's Le Printemps sets new artist record at $65m

Edouard Manet's masterpiece Le Printemps has set a new auction record for the artist, selling as the most valuable lot in Christie's Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Auction.

Edouard Manet Le Printemps
The success of the work at the Paris Salon - which had previously snubbed Manet's work - redefined his legacy



The sale took place in New York on November 5, with Manet's work valued at a confident $25m-35m. With Christie's anticipating a record, it sold for $65m - up 85.7% on estimate.

The previous record for Manet was set by a self-portrait at Sotheby's in 2010 at $33.3m.

Le Printemps shows Parisian actress Jeanne Demarsy as an allegory of spring. Painted in 1882, it is a defining work of the impressionist genre, displaying the characteristic rapid brushstrokes and intense colours for which the movement became known.  

"This painting is by the first artist of the modern era, encapsulating all major themes of the early modern period, from nature and femininity to society and fashion," explained Christie's head of impressionist art, Brooke Lampley.

"One of his best known and most widely reproduced works, Le Printemps exemplifies the revolutionary style that Manet embraced."

The piece was unveiled at the 1882 Paris Salon and was well received by critics, spurring Manet to plan a series of such works, one for each season. However, he died just two years later, shortly before the completion of "Autumn".

The strong result was a result of this being the first time Le Printemps has been offered for public sale, having spent more than a century in a single owner collection. However, it has been on display at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC for more than two decades.

The buyer in the present sale has not yet been named.

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