Picasso's La Gommeuse tops Sotheby's art sale

Picasso's La Gommeuse was the top lot of Sotheby's impressionist and modern art evening sale in New York, achieving $67.4m.

The piece set a new auction record for a work from the artist's blue period (1901-1904).

Picasso La Gommeuse
Picasso's La Gommeuse dates to 1901

Picasso began painting these moody compositions following the suicide of a close friend.

Simon Shaw, Sotheby's co-head of its impressionist and modern art department, explained in the run-up to the sale: "Above all others, Picasso's Blue Period is prized as his breakthrough - this is the moment Picasso becomes Picasso.

"With her dreamy gaze and frank sensuality, the cabaret dancer in La Gommeuse ushers in a new visual idiom for the 20 century."

On a lighter note, the reverse of the canvas features a portrait of Picasso's flatmate, Pere Manach, wearing an Egyptian headdress and urinating.

Picasso reverse side
The reverse of the painting features this flattering image of Pere Manch

We have this postcard signed by Picasso for sale.

Vincent Van Gogh's Paysage Sous un Ciel Movemente was another highlight, realising $54m.

The work was completed in April 1889, during Van Gogh's time at Arles. It was here he produced some of the most important works of his career.

It was also where his mental health began to unravel.  

A painting from Claude Monet's Water Lilies series also sold well, achieving $33.8m.

On November 4, Sotheby's sold a major work by Modigliani in the auction of the Alfred Taubman collection. The two auctions together realised a total of $725m.

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