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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 November 2005, 11:25 GMT
Lautrec painting sells for $22.4m
La Blanchisseuse is a portrait of a female laundry worker

A painting by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec has been sold for $22.4m (12.6m) in New York, breaking the world sales record for the artist's work.

His 1886 work La Blanchisseuse shows a female laundry worker gazing out of a window. It beat the 1997 record of $14.5m (8.2m) for one of his works.

Christie's annual autumn art auction also sold Picasso's Sylvette on a Green Armchair for $8m (4.5m).

But Henri Matisse's Marguerites failed to reach its $10m (5.6m) asking price.

A pair of Monet paintings also remained unsold, drawing no bids beyond $3.2m (1.8m) after pre-sale estimates of up to $6m (3.3m).

Intense life

Christie's two-week Impressionist and modern art sale took a total of $160.9m (91m) in its first week.

La Blanchisseuse was its highest sale so far, although it had been expected to fetch up to $25m (14m).

Sold to an anonymous buyer, it beat the record set by Toulouse-Lautrec's 1890 work Danseuse Assise aux bas Roses, which fetched $14.5m (8.2m) eight years ago.

French poster painter Toulouse-Lautrec's life was short but extremely intense.

When, in 1901, he succumbed to the effects of alcoholism, syphilis and wild living, he had known huge professional success and extreme exhibitionism.

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