Whatever cocktail of factors is involved the popularity of these works was proved at a Sotheby's auction this week (5th February 2014). The auction's total reached a staggering £163.5 million.
When you see the paintings it is not difficult to imagine how they captured the hearts and cheque books of a myriad of wealthy investors.
The star of the sale was Camille Pissarro's Le Boulevard Montmartre Matinee de printemps which sold for £16.9 million.This made it the highest selling work by this artist by a significant margin.
Le Boulevard Montmartre de printemps Pisarro
Pisarro painted a series of paintings of the view from the window of his hotel in Montmartre. The paintings show the scene at different times of day in a similar fashion to Monet's famous hay stacks series. A work from this series hangs in the National Galleries permanent collection and a postcard of it has graced the walls of my bedroom for years. Their painting showing the scene at night has a glow and radiance that shines off the canvas speaking of the warmth and vibrancy of Parisian night life.
Of course this was not the only work to make it's mark on the auctions grand total. The private collection of Jan Krugier went under the hammer including works on paper by artists such as Leger, Ingres, Degas, Cezanne and Picasso to name but a few. These sold incredibly well reflecting their outstanding quality and the keen eye of Krugier. The sale of this collection accounted for £74.9 million of the auction total.
Composition au minotaure Picasso 1936