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November 16, 1987|JOHN VOLAND and DEBORAH CAULFIELD | Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press

Normally conservative French art sellers may be inspired by the world-record $53.9 million paid for Van Gogh's "Irises" painting in New York last week. Experts believe that they will boost prices when France's biggest-ever art auction is held later this week. The auction at the Paris Drouot auction house includes another Van Gogh, as well as works by Monet, Picasso, Modigliani, Dali and Matisse. Prices at French auctions have traditionally been far lower than in New York, London or Tokyo, as taxes imposed on sales in France are higher, discouraging sellers from placing major works with the Paris houses. But Drouot President Joel-Marie Millon said he expects the sale of 44 works of art to raise at least $53 million.

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