Vincent van Gogh's Alyscamps sells for $66.3m

Vincent Van Gogh's L'Allee des Alyscamps (1888) has sold for $66.3m at Sotheby's.

The work headlined an impressionist and modern art evening sale, the first of the season, at the company's headquarters in New York.

Van Gogh Sothebys
Van Gogh spent the summer of 1888 with the artist Paul Gauguin

Van Gogh painted the work during the summer he spent with Paul Gauguin, which allegedly culminated in him cutting off his own ear after the pair rowed.

Other accounts claim that Gauguin cut it off with a sword during a fight.

David Norman of Sotheby's commented prior to the sale: "With the vast majority of his most important paintings in institutional collections, it is extremely rare to see a major canvas at auction - only two paintings from his final breakthrough years were offered in all of 2014.

"To offer a picture from Van Gogh's famous Arles-period is therefore a particular privilege".

The record for a painting by the artist stands at $82.5m, set for his Portrait of Dr Gachet in 1990.

A mysterious Chinese-speaking bidder bought the work. Artnet news stated: "He sat about halfway back in the room. In jeans and a hooded jacket, his attire was a departure from the business suit more typically worn by buyers.

"A Japanese dealer we spoke with after the auction said the buyer, whom he sat next to, was speaking Chinese on the phone but denied being Chinese."

Other high profile lots included a painting from Claude Monet's celebrate Nympheas series, which made $54m, and Picasso's Femme au Chignon Dans Unfauteuil ($29.9m).

The auction realised $368.3m.

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