Painting created van Gogh in mental asylum sells for $81M

Brunilde Fioravanti
Novembre 15, 2017

A painting of a ploughman tilling the soil has harvested a rich picking.

On Monday, Christie's kicked off the autumn auction season in NY with the Vincent van Gogh work fetching US$81.3 million (S$111 million) amid robust sales of Impressionist and modern art.

After not painting for six weeks, van Gogh decided the distraction of work "might possibly be the best remedy". He died the following year.

It had a guide price of around $50 million but smashed its estimate to sell for $81 million - the second highest price paid at auction for a piece by van Gogh.

The other highlight was Contraste De Formes, a 1913 Fernand Leger abstract that scored US$70 million, setting a new world auction record for the artist, the auction house said.

The 1889 painting, "Laboureur dans un champ", was sold by the estate of billionaire couple Nancy Lee Bass and Perry R. Bass.

"L'empire des lumières" oil on canvas made an auction record for the artist at a premium inclusive $20.5m at Christie's. It was painted in Brussels, 1949.

Christie's Impressionist and Modern day sales take place today, followed by November 15's Post-War and Contemporary art evening sales.

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