Pablo Picasso's colorful 1932 oil painting "The Rescue" sold for USD 31.5 million at a New York auction, far exceeding its USD 14 million to USD 18 million estimate.
"The Rescue" led yesterday's bidding at a Sotheby's sale of impressionist and modern art. The auction house sold 50 pieces, raising about USD 219 million.
It was the second straight night a painting by the Cubist master changed hands for a big price. Picasso's 1942 painting of his mistress in a purple dress titled "Portrait of Dora Maar" sold Tuesday for USD 22.5 million at Christie's.
Henri Matisse's "Morning Session," a 1924 oil of the artist's assistant, Henriette Darricarrere, sold for USD 19.2 million yesterday.
Claude Monet's "Japanese Bridge" went for USD 15.8 million while his "On the Cliff at Pourville" netted USD 8.2 million.
Yesterday's sale featured four sculptures and an oil painting by Alberto Giacometti. His multi-figural sculpture "City Square" sold for USD 13 million. Another sculpture, "Woman of Venice V" fetched USD 8.8 million.
Sotheby's also has three works by Joan Miro that languished in a New York vault for 50 years. The Spanish artist created them for the filmmaker and photographer Thomas Bouchard and his daughter Diane.
"Untitled, 1947," depicting colorful anthropomorphic forms on a rich blue background, sold for USD 8 million.
The other two Miro works are set to go under the hammer at Sotheby's day sale today. The prices included the buyer's premium.
The spring auction season in New York shifted to Sotheby's after an auction Tuesday at Christie's, which featured works from the estates of heiress Huguette Clark, businessman Edgar Bronfman and other collectors.
That sale raised more than USD 285 million, including USD 27 million for a Claude Monet painting that has not been publicly exhibited since 1926.
Next week, both auction houses are offering works by postwar and contemporary artists.