• Short Summary

    The fashionable Madison Avenue auction district in New York is alive with rumours of record prices and fortunes changing hands in what is claimed to be the word's biggest sale of Impressionist and Modern artworks.

  • Description

    GV Exhibits on display

    SV & CU Women admiring Repetition de Ballet by Degas (3 shots)

    SV & CU Vase de Tulipe by Cezanne (2 shots)

    SV Couple looking at exhibits

    SV ZOOM TO CU Manet's Nature Morte aux Poisson

    CU ZOOM BACK TO SV La Caise d' Emballage by Braque

    CU PULL BACK "Antoinette" by Kaset

    GV People looking around

    SV ZOOM TO CU Vase de Fleurs by Redon

    Initials BB/2300 DS/BOB/BB/2310

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: The fashionable Madison Avenue auction district in New York is alive with rumours of record prices and fortunes changing hands in what is claimed to be the word's biggest sale of Impressionist and Modern artworks.

    The appearance of two paintings which alone are expected to bring more than one million dollars each (GBP400 thousand sterling) has attracted dealers from all over the world. Security is high and the showroom -- Sotheby Parks Bernet -- has raised insurance of more than 10-million dollars (GBP4-million sterling) for what is in fact a giant collection of 354 works. The sale is May 2-5.

    The excitement is not just about the massive sums of money expected to change hands. It is also brought about by the appearance of a large number of paintings from the personal collection of American industrialist Norton Simon -- a major holder of Impressionist art.

    Among them is the first Manet to have been offered at auction since 1965, when "The Smoker "The Good Pipe)" brought 450 thousand dollars (175-thousand sterling). The painting to be offered during the sale on May 2, "Nature morte aux poisons (Still Life with Fish)" is conservatively expected to bring a million dollars, as is Cezanne's "Vase de Tulipes (Vase of Tulips)".

    Other works include some by Degas, Gericault, Braques, Mery Cassat and Radon. The four day showroom sale also includes a wide range of modern paintings. The interest of dealers, however, centres on the huge Impressionist offering.

    Wednesday night (May 2) will be the sale of 47 works from Simon's collection, 10 from his own private collection, the rest from two of his foundations -- set up to lend fine-art works to galleries, in the manner of a public library system.

    Spokesmen said the workers are being sold to make room for more Old Masters and modern works.

    The auctioneers claim many records will be broken in this week's sales. The total money changeover may approach the deals made in recent sales of Old Masters -- such as the record GBP3,638,825 (over 9 million dollars) paid for 27 Old Masters at Christie's auction halls in London in mid-1971.

    SYNOPSIS: Art dealers worldwide are watching this week's showroom sale at the New York auction house of Sotheby Parke Bernet -- it is expected the sale could bring world record prices for a collection of Impressionist paintings. This painting by Degas, called "Repetition de Ballet" is one of forty-seven works being sold for American industrialist Norton Simon. The Degas, from Simon's personal collection, is expected to bring more than seven hundred thousand dollars. Cezanne's "Vase de Tulipe" is one of two paintings that will probably sell for more than a million.

    Previewers of the show gravitate towards the first major Manet to come on sale in eight years. "Still Life with Fish", as it is called, is expected to cost its new owner over a million dollars.

    In all, 354 major paintings are offered, making the sale one of the biggest anywhere at any time.

    Works rarely available from the Impressionist and modern period are on view and the security -- a closely guarded secret -- is as high as the dealer interest.

    The auctioneers say the total money changing hands may approach the record nine million dollars paid in 1971 in London for twenty-seven Old Masters -- traditionally the most expensive, prestige art works.

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