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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 February 2006, 13:50 GMT
Munch collection fetches 16.9m
Summer Day
Summer Day was once owned by Nazi Hermann Goering
A collection of paintings by Edvard Munch has fetched 16.9m at an auction of Impressionist art in London.

Among the works to be sold was 1904 painting Summer Day which fetched 6.17m - the highest amount paid for a Munch artwork.

The top-selling painting at the sale, held at Sotheby's, was Paul Gauguin's 1902 painting Deux Femmes, which sold for 12.33m.

A Sotheby's spokeswoman said: "The atmosphere was absolutely electric."

Important

The collection - which included two self-portraits - was sold by Norwegian shipping magnate Fred Olsen, whose family had owned them since the 1920s.

Sotheby's described the paintings as "the greatest collection of works by Edvard Munch ever to appear for sale on the international market".

Auctioneers said the sale of Summer Day was the most significant offer of Munch's work since Girls on a Bridge was bought for $7.7m in 1996.

Gauguin's Deux Femmes
Gauguin's Deux Femmes was one of the sale highlights

Other works to be sold included Self-Portrait Against Two-Coloured Background, which fetched 3.59m and Self-Portrait with Spanish Flu which made 1.68m.

Gauguin's Deux Femmes, painted a year before the artist's death, depicts two native women of Tahiti set against "a background of symbolical senses".

It was described as the most important Gauguin to appear at auction in Europe in 15 years.

The painting was sold to a private UK buyer.

Melanie Clore, co-chairman of Sotheby's Impressionist and Modern department, said they were "thrilled" at the auction.

"For some time now, demand has been strongest for works that are rare, of good quality and with a good provenance.

"Bidding was both informed and vigorous across the board, with activity not only from traditional centres such as America and Europe but also from Russia and the Far East.

"This is an exciting moment for the art world."




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See some of the paintings



SEE ALSO:
In pictures: Munch artworks
08 Feb 06 |  In Pictures
Gauguin painting could fetch 14m
02 Feb 06 |  Entertainment
Munch collection could fetch 12m
04 Jan 06 |  Entertainment
In pictures: Munch at Royal Academy
27 Sep 05 |  In Pictures


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