Sotheby's auction house opened the week in New York on Monday with multimillion-dollar sales of works by modern and impressionist artists such as Rene Magritte, Oskar Kokoschka and Ludwing Meidner.
According to Sotheby's, "Le Principe du Plaisir" (The Pleasure Principle - Portrait of Edward James), a work by Belgian surrealist painter Rene Magritte, was sold at Monday's auction for $26.8 million, a new record for this artist known for his witty and provocative images and who, through his work, sought to change the preconditioned perception of reality.
Another huge sale was the portrait "Joseph de Montesquiou-Fezensac" by Oskar Kokoschka, a painter and poet of Austrian origin who was mainly known for his portraits and expressionist landscapes. It was sold for $20.4 million, a new world-auction record for the artist, whose work had sold for a maximum of $4.1 million up to now.
Sotheby's also brought in $14.1 million for German expressionist painter Ludwig Meidner's "Apokalyptische Landschaft," a prophetic painting executed on the verge of World War I.
According to Sotheby's, the Meidner sale set a new world auction record for the artist, with his previous top sale amounting to $3.1 million.
Sotheby's launched its art auction season in New York on Monday after Christie's had done the same on Sunday with sales of several works by Van Gogh, Monet and Picasso, offerings that received only lukewarm bids that rarely exceeded the estimated maximum value of the pieces.