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Manet Painting Brings Record, More Than $11 Million

December 2, 1986

LONDON (AP) _ A painting by Edouard Manet sold at auction Monday for more than $11 million, the highest price ever paid for an Impressionist painting.

Christie’s auction house said the winning bid of 7.7 million pounds for ″La Rue Mosnier aux Paveurs″ by the French master was received by telephone from a European buyer whose name was not revealed.

In three minutes of intense bidding, the price grew in steps of 200,000 pounds from the opening 2 million pounds to 7 million, about double what the Manet was expected to bring.

The 1878 painting was from London’s Courtauld Collection and was sold on behalf of a descendant of Samuel Courtauld, who founded the collection and the Courtauld Institute of Art.

Its title translates as ″Mosnier Street with Pavers.″ The painting depicts the view from Manet’s Paris studio, looking down the street with road workers in the foreground and carriages and figures beyond.

The 25-by-32-inch canvas was featured in the Manet centenary retrospective, which drew large crowds in New York and Paris in 1983.

John Lumley, head of Christie’s modern pictures department, said before the bidding that the painting was ″undoubtedly the most distinguished Impressionist work we have offered for sale since Monet’s ″La Terrasse a Sainte Adresse″ in 1967.

The previous Impressionist record was $9.9 million paid in New York last year for a Van Gogh. The largest sum for a painting ever paid at auction was 8.1 million pounds last year for Andrea Mantegna’s 15th century ″Adoration of the Magi.″ At the time, the price was equivalent to about $10.4 million, and is about $12 million now.

For a Manet, the record had been $3.96 million for a portrait sold in New York in 1983.

Dealers, private bidders and the curious crowded into Christie’s West End auction rooms for the sale of Impressionist and modern paintings and sculpture. The art pieces eventually sold for a total of about $30 million.

A painting by Henri de Toulouse Lautrec fetched the second-highest price of 1.6 million pounds ($2.3 million). A tiny Paul Cezanne still-life with apples went under the hammer for 350,000 pounds ($504,000).

An Auguste Renoir nude went for 950,000 pounds ($1.37 million).

But the painting by Manet, leading spirit of the Impressionist movement, was the star of the sale.

Four auction rooms linked by closed-circuit television contained the crowd.

Tension mounted as bids for the Manet swept around the room, but the final struggle was between two officials of Christie’s, bidding for absent customers.