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Tuesday, 7 May, 2002, 07:51 GMT 08:51 UK
Degas tub goes under hammer
Le Tub by Edgar Degas
Le Tub is a rare 19th century sculpture viewed from above
A bronze sculpture of a woman half submerged in a bath by Edgar Degas is one of the more unusual lots at a 30m ($44m) auction in New York.

Le Tub - seen as one of the most innovative works of the 19th Century - is expected to get up to 1.4m ($2m) at the Christie's sale.

The stellar sale of Impressionist and Modern art includes Magritte, Monet, Vuillard, Picasso and Van Gogh.

Constantin Brancusi's Danaide
Brancusi's Danaide could go for 7m
But Le Tub will provoke great interest, as probably the only piece of 19th-Century sculpture intended to be viewed from above.

The model may have been one of the prostitutes Degas drew during the late 1880s, at a period when excessive bathing was frowned on for respectable women.

Degas said of his subjects: "These women of mine are decent, simple human beings who have no other concern than that of their physical condition... it is as though one were watching through a keyhole."

Constantin Brancusis' super-stylised bronze portrait of his favourite muse, Margit Pogany, is expected to go for up to 7m ($10.3m) as it is sold at auction for the first time.

Early Picasso

Christie's said the Danaide, which was created in about 1913, was the work of arguably the most revolutionary and influential sculptor of the 20th Century.

Pablo Picasso's 1901 work, Les Courses, a scene of elegantly-dressed Parisian women at a racetrack, is also going under the hammer for the first time.

The rare example of the artist's early period is expected to fetch up to 4.4m ($6.5m).

Vincent van Gogh's drawing of a Peasant Woman, Half Figure, Sitting is expected to go for up to 475,000 ($697,000).

Many of the works in the sale were earlier exhibited at Christie's in London.

See also:

15 Apr 02 | Arts
Art worth 30m up for auction
03 Apr 02 | Arts
Art collection could fetch 15m
06 Feb 02 | Arts
Bacon paintings sold for 1.9m
26 Jun 01 | Arts
Monet art sale raises millions
04 Feb 02 | Arts
Monks sell 8m art
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