wo of the finest of Edgar Degas' many ballerina studies to come on the market in the last decade established two record auction prices for the artist tonight.
"Danseuses a Repos" (circa 1874) was bought for $1,320,000 by Abels Gallery in Cologne, West Germany, setting a record price for a gouache by the artist. "Danseuses a la Barre" (circa 1877) was sold for $1,045,000 to an anonymous New York dealer, setting a record for a Degas pastel.
The two works, which were consigned for auction from the estate of Mrs. Dunbar W. Bostwick, granddaughter of the renowned collectors, Mr. and Mrs. H.O. Havemeyer, were among several lots of Impressionist and Modern works of art offered tonight at Christie's. The sale brought a number of high bids and may have reassured collectors that the art market remains strong for major works in spite of the shaky economy. The total for the sale -- $12,221,000 -- was the highest in more than a year at the auction house. All prices include a 10 percent buyers' fee charged by Christie's.
David Bathurst, tonight's auctioneer and president of Christie's in America, said, "The sale proves that the market is as strong as ever for important works, and we are particularly pleased that the middle price range, which has been suffering, is picking up."
The third highest price was paid for a picture from one of Paul Gauguin's much sought-after Tahitian series. "La Maison du Champs" (1892), which depicts a room of natives chanting, sold for $770,000.
Two paintings by Paul Ce'zanne also brought high prices. "Paysage d'Ile de France" (circa 1879-80), which was consigned from the estate of Aaron W. Davis, a New York collector, brought $726,000; "Madame Ce'zanne en Robe Rayee," offered from the estate of Mrs. Algur W. Meadows, widow of the noted Texas philanthropist, was bought for $632,500 in a separate sale tonight.
Alberto Giacometti's "Femme du Venise II" brought $390,000, an auction record for the artist. The painted, elongated bronze nude was exhibited in the Venice Biennale in 1956 and in a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in 1965 that subsequently toured major museums.
In the elegant main Park Avenue salesroom, 1,000 people in jewels and winter wools watched the auction on an unseasonably warm night. With bids being taken over the phone, as well as from viewers watching the sale from other rooms in the house via slide projectors, there was a little confusion over who bought what.
The sale began on a strong note with 15 lots from the Meadows estate. Pierre Bonnard's "Avenue de Clichy" (1901) was sold for $150,000, topping its pre-sale estimate. "Baigneuse Assies" (circa 1882) by Pierre Auguste Renoir was sold for $550,000.