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Wynn wins Renoir for $23.5 million at Sotheby's auction

May 08, 2003|Suzanne Muchnic

Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn snagged the priciest item at Sotheby's big spring auction of Impressionist and Modern art Tuesday night in New York, paying $23.5 million for "Dans les Roses (Portrait de Madame Leon Clapisson)," a painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

Wynn said his latest acquisition will go on public display as soon as possible with the rest of his art collection in Las Vegas.

Three works consigned by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston -- two pastels by Edgar Degas and a painting by Renoir -- also brought big prices, yielding about $14 million for the museum's planned purchase of a major Degas painting, "The Duchessa di Montejasi With Her Daughters Elena and Camilla," from a collection in France.

But the auction, which kicked off a week of Impressionist and modern art sales in New York, was far from a complete success. The total take was $65.6 million, less than the low presale estimate of $70.9 million. Eleven of the 39 artworks offered failed to find buyers, including "Suprematist Painting, Rectangle and Circle," an abstraction by Kazimir Malevich valued at $5 million to $7 million, and "La Clairiere," a sculpture by Alberto Giacometti that was expected to bring $8 million to $10 million.

-- Suzanne Muchnic

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