Painting created van Gogh in mental asylum sells for $81M

Pablo Picasso Femme accroupie

Pablo Picasso Femme accroupie , sold for $36.9m with fees Christie's Images LTD 2017

On Monday, Christie's kicked off the autumn auction season in NY with the Vincent van Gogh work fetching US$81.3 million (S$111 million) amid robust sales of Impressionist and modern art.

He went on to paint "Laboureur dans un champ", an oil canvas of a farmer ploughing the land, which was the view from his window at the hospital.

Van Gogh began the painting in late August 1889 and completed it on Sept 2, the first time he picked up his brushes for a month and a half after an epileptic fit. He died the following year.

It had a guide price of around £38 million but smashed its estimate to sell for £62 million - the second highest price paid at auction for a piece by van Gogh.

Fernand Leger's Contraste de formes sold at a hammer price of $62m (£47m), which was $70m including premium, setting an auction record for the artist.

The painting, completed in early September 1889, was owned by billionaires Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass who sold it through Christie's in NY.

Rene Magritte's L'empire Des Lumieres - a nocturnal bourgeois street scene - was sold for US$20.56 million, which Christie's said was a world auction record for the Belgian surrealist.

Christie's Impressionist and Modern day sales take place today, followed by November 15's Post-War and Contemporary art evening sales.

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