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YSL Auction sets records for Matisse, etc.
A painting by Henri Matisse sold Monday for euro32.1 million ($41.1 million) _ a record auction price for a work by the artist _ at an art sale from the estate of Yves Saint Laurent, Christie's said.
The sale came at the start of a three-day Paris auction of art from the collection of the late French fashion designer that some are calling "the sale of the century."
A Piet Mondrian painting that had inspired one of Saint Laurent's most memorable dresses sold for nearly euro20 million.
Sales reached euro206 million ($263.6 million) in the auction's first day _ marked by six world record prices for works by individual artists at auction, Christie's auction house said. Fierce bidding in the cavernous, glass-topped Grand Palais museum hall quieted concerns that the global financial crisis might damage the auction's prospects.
"I never doubted the success of this sale," Pierre Berge, Saint Laurent's longtime partner, told reporters after the auction. "When you have a collection of this importance, and of this demand, you stop being an amateur art lover _ and you become more or less an expert."
Matisse's 1911 oil painting "Les coucous, tapis bleu et rose," (The Cowslips, Blue and Rose Fabric) sold for a total of euro35.9 million, including the buyer's premium, Christie's said.
Mondrian's 1922 painting "Composition in Blue, Red, Yellow and Black," with rectangles of saturated colors that had inspired Saint Laurent's 1965 shift dress, sold for euro19.2 million ($24.6 million), or about twice the pre-auction estimate. A wood sculpture by Constantin Brancusi entitled "Madame L.R." went for euro26 million ($33.3 million). Those prices exclude the buyer's premium.
Christie's officials said they were still working on confirming the identities of the buyers, who mostly came from North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.