$81.3 million painting by Vincent Van Gogh kicks off New York art auction season
Christie’s kicked off the fall auction season in New York on Monday a Vincent Van Gogh leading the way at $81.3 million with robust sales of impressionist and modern art. “Laboureur dans un champ,” painted by the tortured Dutch genius from the window of a French asylum where he had committed himself sold to a buyer on the telephone after a frenzied four-minute bidding war having been valued at $50 million. Van Gogh began the painting of a ploughman tilling the soil in late August 1889 and completed it on September 2, the first time he picked up his brushes for a month and a half after an epileptic fit. He died the following year. Christie’s said it sold for $81.3 million, including the buyer’s premium, well over its pre-sale estimate of $50 million. It was just a hair’s breath from the auction record for a Van Gogh, set in 1990 at $82.5 million in New York for “Portrait of Dr Gachet,” although that price would be much higher if adjusted for today’s inflation.