Five Monet paintings sell for US$84 million in London

In this Jan 28, 2015 photo, employees of Sotherby's auction house position Le Grand Canal by Claude Monet during a press preview in London. -- PHOTO: AFP
In this Jan 28, 2015 photo, employees of Sotherby's auction house position Le Grand Canal by Claude Monet during a press preview in London. -- PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - Five paintings by French impressionist Claude Monet, including his famous 1908 Le Grand Canal view of Venice, sold for a total of US$84 million (S$113 million) in a London auction on Tuesday.

Le Grand Canal, a hazy blue-and-green view of the banks of the Italian city painted at the peak of Monet's career, sold for US$35.6 million.

It was part of a Sotheby's auction of impressionist and modern art works including paintings by masters Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Henri Matisse, and sculptures by Auguste Rodin.

Sotheby's said the artworks in the sale raised US$283 million overall, a record total for an auction in London.

"Tonight's London Imp., Modern & Surrealist sales achieved £186.5m (S$378 million)- the highest total for any auction ever held in London, in any category," the auction house wrote on its Twitter account.

Other works sold included Monet's Les Peupliers a Giverny, a view of tall trees at sunset which previously hung in New York's Museum of Modern Art and sold for US$16.2 million.

A brightly-coloured Matisse portrait of Princess Nezy-Hamide Chawkat, the great granddaughter of the last Sultan of Turkey, sold for US$23.8 million.

An owl sculpture named Chouette hand-painted by Pablo Picasso and inspired by his own pet owl, sold for US$1.9 million.

The US$11.7 million paid for a drawing by Georges Seurat - a study for his monumental Une baignade, Asnieres oil painting - was a record for a work by the artist on paper, Sotheby's said.