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Mondrian Work Sold For $5.1 Million Highlights Auction At Sotheby's

November 20, 1986| From Times Wire Services

NEW YORK — A painting by the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian sold for $5.1 million at Sotheby's auction house Tuesday night, more than doubling the artist's previous record of $2.2 million.

The painting was one of 67 Impressionist and modern paintings sold for a total of $42.4 million, a record for a single evening's sale for this type of art.

Mondrian's painting, "Composition in a Square With Red Corner," was one of seven sold from the estate of James Sweeney, a former director of the Department of Painting and Sculpture at the New York Museum of Modern Art.

Also included in the Sweeney collection was "Femmes Dans La Nuit" by Joan Miro, which sold for $2.5 million, a record for the Spanish artist.

The seven paintings from the Sweeney collection sold for a total of $12 million.

Thomas Armstrong, director of the Whitney Museum of American Art, purchased Alexander Calder's mobile, "The Calderberry Bush," for $550,000, twice its presale estimate.

John Tancock, director of the Impressionist and Modern Painting Department at Sotheby's, said he had not been surprised by the high prices, noting that there were a number of exceptional works and that the art market is currently very buoyant.

Other records broken were $3.5 million for Renoir's painting, "The Coiffure," $1.7 million for a Henry Moore sculpture and $1.1 million for a sculpture by Jacques Lipchitz.

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