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Wynn pays top price at auction

For the second night in a row, Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn bought the most expensive item at a New York auction of Impressionist and Modern art. This time around, Wednesday night at Christie’s, he paid $17.3 million for a self-portrait by Paul Cezanne.

The previous evening, Wynn landed a $23.5-million Renoir painting at Sotheby’s. Both acquisitions will be displayed at his gallery, the Wynn Collection, in Las Vegas.

A bronze cast of Edgar Degas’ perennially popular “Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen” brought the second highest sum at Christie’s, $10.3 million, from dealer Richard Gray, who has galleries in New York and Chicago.

The selling price fell squarely within the auction house’s estimated range of $8 million to $12 million, but failed to reach the $12.3-million record sum paid in 1991 by seller Francois Arnault, the French collector who owns Christie’s.

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Nine other works brought more than $1 million apiece, including Piet Mondrian’s classic painting “Composition in White, Blue and Yellow,” which fetched $8 million from an anonymous collector.

But six of the 31 artworks offered were not sold. Christie’s total take, $59.7 million, fell short of the auction house’s $64-million low estimate.

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Suzanne Muchnic

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