Unique Auctions' Fantin-Latour artwork smashes $15,640 estimate

A 19th century floral artwork by French master Henri Fantin-Latour far exceeded its £10,000 high-end estimate at Unique Auctions over the weekend.

The 20 by eight inch piece sold for £90,000 at the January 1 sale in Lincolnshire, UK.

Fantin-Latour's floral works are growing in popularity among collectors. In 2005, an 18 by 23 inch work, depicting a basket of flowers, sold for $1.69m at Sotheby's.

Fantin-Latour at Unique Auctions
Fantin-Latour's 19th century work
sold for eight times its estimate

"He is famous for his floral studies and this example shows all his trademarks - a large expanse of emptiness around the subject and his technique of over-painting the flowers," research consultant to Unique Auctions, Terry Dean, told local newspaper the Lincolnshire Echo prior to the auction.

The New Year's sale is an early indication that the global art market in 2012 could be set to continue its revival following the recession-induced slump.

The Mei Moses World All Art Index, which tracks Christie's and Sotheby's art auctions worldwide, revealed a 10.2% rise in prices during 2011.

It follows the 16.6% growth it enjoyed in 2010.

Fantin-Latour's compatriot Claude Monet, among the founders of the Impressionist art movement, is also a major draw at auction, and prices for his work have recently gone stratospheric.

In June 2008, Monet's Le Bassin aux Nympheas achieved £41m at Christie's, setting a record price for the artist and smashing its £24m high-end estimate in the process.

Yet there are opportunities for art collectors to invest in Monet at more manageable levels.

Paul Fraser Collectibles currently has a wonderful handwritten, signed note by the artist available.

Written in 1920, and detailing the artist's acknowledgment of a payment, it is available now at £5,950.

The note is in very good condition and features Monet's signature clearly.

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