Monet's Le Palais Contarini achieves $30.8m at Sotheby's Impressionist

A tense three-way bidding battle has seen Monet's Le Palais Contarini become the top selling work of the London summer season, at Sotheby's Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale.

Monet Contarini Palace Venice
'Venice and Monet were made for each other'

The masterpiece, a stunning view of one of Venice's most recognisable buildings, eventually sold for £19.6m ($30.8m) in the UK capital last night (July 19). It was originally valued at £15m-20m.

Sotheby's auction attracted a total of £105.9m ($165.5m), which equates to a 1.8% increase on the expected £104m.

It attributes the success of the auction to the sale of two important collections, The Branco Weiss Collection and Property from the Collection of the Late Stanley J Seeger.

Le Palais Contarini was created in 1908 - the peak of Monet's career - during one of the first Venice Biennales. The Sotheby's sale coincided with the 2013 Biennale, which runs until November 24.

"Venice and Monet were made for each other. With its ravishing palette and modern aesthetic, this is a work of timeless appeal," commented Sotheby's Helena Newman.

The current auction record for Monet's work is $80.4m, which was achieved by 1919's Le Bassin aux nympheas at Christie's in 2008.

Paul Fraser Collectibles is currently offering a signed letter from Monet, which he wrote from his Giverny home.

Wassily Kandinski Ineinder auction record
Ineinander, which translates as Intermingling, was consigned from the Branco Weiss Collection, which contains some of the finest achievements in abstract art

1928's Ineinander set the auction record for a work on paper by Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky at £1.6m ($2.5m), beating its £800,0000 high estimate by 106.3%. The price represents a 10.2% increase on the previous record of £1.4m, which was set at Christie's in 2008.

Christie's just missed out on the record for any work by Kandinsky, when his Studie zu Improvisation 3 sold for $21m at its own Impressionist and Modern Art sale earlier this week.

The existing record was set at $23m at Christie's in November 2012.

Picasso Vollard Suite
Ambroise Vollard also worked with Paul Cezanne, Pierre-August Renoir and Van Gogh

Another record was seen for a Vollard Suite by Pablo Picasso - a set of 100 etchings created between 1930-1937.

Commissioned by his art dealer, Ambroise Vollard, Picasso produced more than 300 sets. This example sold for £2.6m ($4.1m), a 70.5% increase on the £1.5m record achieved at Galerie Kornfeld Bern in 2012.

Learn more about Vollard's role in launching Picasso's career and the legendary 1901 exhibition.

Christie's held an auction dedicated to Picasso's ceramic work on June 18, which saw excellent sales with 100% sold by lot.

Those looking to join the lucrative market for Picasso's work will be thrilled with this signed postcard of The Absinthe Drinker, a famous work from his Blue Period.

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