Edouard Manet’s Le Bar aux Folies-Bergère could fetch $38.1M at London auction

One of the defining images of French impressionism is up for sale, as Sotheby’s auctions Edouard Manet’s Le Bar aux Folies-Bergere.

The auction house says the painting will be offered at a June 24 sale in London, with an estimated price of £15 million to £20 million ($28.6 million to $38.1 million).

This image released by Sotheby's auction house in London shows Edouard Manet's Le Bar aux Folies-Bergere. One of the defining images of French Impressionism, the painting will be offered at a June 24 sale in London, with an estimated price of 15 million pounds to 20 million pounds. (Sotheby'svia AP Photo)
This image released by Sotheby’s auction house in London shows Edouard Manet’s Le Bar aux Folies-Bergere. One of the defining images of French Impressionism, the painting will be offered at a June 24 sale in London, with an estimated price of 15 million pounds to 20 million pounds. (Sotheby’svia AP Photo)

The 1881 oil painting of a barmaid at the famous Parisian cabaret has featured in numerous exhibitions, including the recent “Inventing Impressionism” show at Britain’s National Gallery.

“This is one of Manet’s most famous subjects, and an absolute classic impressionist image of Parisian nightlife,” said Philip Hook, Sotheby’s senior international specialist in impressionist and modern art. He called the painting one of the most important Manets still in private hands.

It is the earlier of two renderings by Manet of the same scene. A later, larger version is in London’s Courtauld Gallery. Hook said the earlier one is distinguished by the “wonderful spontaneity” of its brushstrokes.

Edouard Manet's a Bar at the Folies-Bergère, 1881-2, is seen hanging in London's Courtauld Gallery. (Courtauld Gallery)
Edouard Manet’s a Bar at the Folies-Bergère, 1881-2, is seen hanging in London’s Courtauld Gallery. (Courtauld Gallery)

The painting last sold at auction in 1994 for £4.4 million ($8.3 million). Prices for high-end artworks have soared in recent years as wealthy buyers from Russia, China and the Middle East flex their financial muscles.

“Every new generation of collectors is drawn to the impressionists in a most magical way,” Hook said Monday. “That is true of the new buyers we see from the emerging economies.”

Last month Sotheby’s sold Nympheas, one of Claude Monet’s iconic water lily paintings, for $67 million, well above its pre-sale estimate, as part of a bumper impressionist and modern sale.

On May 11, rival auctioneer Christie’s sold Pablo Picasso’s painting Women of Algiers (Version O) for $223 million, the highest sum ever paid for an artwork at auction.

Pablo Picasso's 1955 masterpiece Women of Algiers (Version O) sold for $223 million on May 11. (2015 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/Christie's via AP)
Pablo Picasso’s 1955 masterpiece Women of Algiers (Version O) sold for $223 million on May 11. (2015 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/Christie’s via AP)

Source: CBC News.

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