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High prices paid for art dealer’s collection

Picassos, a Gaugin and a Paul Klee have all fetched top prices at the start of a two-day auction of the private collection of late Swiss art dealer Ernst Beyeler.

Picasso’s Femme Assise, robe bleue was sold for £17.9 million (SFr24.6 million), four times its lower estimate, at Christie’s in London on Tuesday night.

Around 40 pieces went under the hammer, clocking up a total of $44.6 million. Another 50 works were being auctioned on Wednesday night, including ceramics by Picasso.

Paul Klee’s Tänzerin sold for $4.1 million, a world record for the Swiss artist at auction. Another Picasso, Buste de Françoise went for £10.6 million, slightly above its top estimate.

Le Vallon by Gaugin sold for £6.4 million and Renoir’s La source (nu allongé) for $5 million.

Not all works sold, however. Claude Monet’s Nymphéas did not go for its reserve of SFr23 million.

Smaller pieces are also up, providing a more intimate picture of the life of Beyeler and his wife Hildy. The proceeds will benefit the Beyeler Foundation museum near Basel.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR