A painting by Claude Monet fetched $30.8 million at a
Monet's "Le Palais Contarini" depicts a Venetian palazzo and was created in 1908. The painting was the subject of a four-way bidding skirmish that caused the selling price to rise slightly above Sotheby's high-end estimate of $30.2 million.
The painting belonged to the Nahmad family of art dealers, who had purchased the work for $4.2 million in 1996 at a Christie's auction. The Nahmad family has been in the news recently following allegations that one of its scions, Helly, was involved in a gambling and money-laundering scheme.
A number of other works managed to exceed sales expectations. A work by Piet Mondrian -- "Composition with Red, Yellow and Blue" (1927) -- beat estimates by selling for $14.5 million. The abstract work had been expected to sell for $9.2 million at the high end.
Another Monet -- a 1872 painting titled "Le Pont de Bois" -- sold for $9.6 million, beating estimates. The painting was part of the collection of the late Gustav Rau and was being sold to benefit
Sotheby's said in a release that Wednesday's auction saw a record number of participants from Asia for a London sale of Impressionist works.
On Tuesday, a Christie's auction of Impressionist and Modern art brought in a total of $100.4 million. The sales are part of the London summer auction season that draws high-end collectors and museum representatives.