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Monet landscape sells for $35 million at Sotheby's as top-end art market stays strong

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LONDON — A Venetian waterscape by Claude Monet has sold for more than $35 million at a London auction as the high-end art market shows resilience in a bumpy global economy.

"Le Grand Canal," fetched 23.7 million pounds ($35.6 million) at Sotheby's, though it didn't reach the top of its pre-sale estimate of 20 million pounds to 30 million pounds.

Monet's "Poplars at Giverny," sold by New York's Museum of Modern Art, fetched 10.8 million pounds ($16.2 million).

Tuesday's Impressionist, Modern and Surrealist auction raised 186.4 million pounds ($280.2 million), the highest-ever total for a single sale in London.

Sotheby's said bidders came from 35 countries. Wealthy collectors from emerging markets such as Russia, China and the Middle East have helped buoy prices amid the aftermath of the global financial crisis.

PHOTO: FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015 file photo, Sotheby's staff pose for a picture with 'Le Grand Canal' by Claude Monet, during a preview of their upcoming Impressionist and Modern, Surrealist and Contemporary Art sale, at the auction house in London, England. "Le Grand Canal," fetched 23.7 million pounds ($35.6 million) at Sotheby's, though it didn't reach the top of its pre-sale estimate of 20 million pounds to 30 million pounds. The Impressionist, Modern and Surrealist auction on Tuesday Feb. 3, 2015 raised 186.4 million pounds ($280.2 million), the highest-ever total for a single sale in London. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland, File)
FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015 file photo, Sotheby's staff pose for a picture with 'Le Grand Canal' by Claude Monet, during a preview of their upcoming Impressionist and Modern, Surrealist and Contemporary Art sale, at the auction house in London, England. "Le Grand Canal," fetched 23.7 million pounds ($35.6 million) at Sotheby's, though it didn't reach the top of its pre-sale estimate of 20 million pounds to 30 million pounds. The Impressionist, Modern and Surrealist auction on Tuesday Feb. 3, 2015 raised 186.4 million pounds ($280.2 million), the highest-ever total for a single sale in London. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland, File)

Helena Newman of Sotheby's Impressionist and Modern department said the sale saw "collectors from Asia and Russia asserting themselves as a continued force in the market."

She said it was "a great night for Monet," with five works by the French artist netting a total of 55.7 million pounds ($83.8 million).

Standouts at the sale included Henri Matisse's "Odalisque in a Black Armchair," which sold well over its upper estimate at 15.8 million pounds ($23.8 million), and Pablo Picasso's maquette for a steel sculpture that stands outside Chicago's Richard J. Daley Center, which raised 8.9 million pounds ($13.4 million).

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec's "In Bed: the Kiss" sold for 10.8 million pounds ($16.2 million), the second-highest price ever for the artist.

All the sale prices include a tax known as the buyer's premium.

Sotheby's rival, Christie's, holds its own banner sale Wednesday in London.

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