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Manet painting sells for $65 million at NY auction

A stunning 1881 masterpiece by Edouard Manet sold for $65 million at auction in New York on Wednesday, a record for a work by the French impressionist artist.

"Le Printemps," which the auction house Christie's had valued at $25-30 million, depicts a famous actress of the day and was exhibited in 1882 to critical acclaim while Manet was one of the most famous living artists.

The canvas has been owned by the same family for more than a century and for the last 20 years been on loan to the National Gallery of Art in Washington.

It was snapped up by a buyer in the front row who calmly fended off furious bidding on the telephone.

The previous record for a work of art by Manet was $33 million, for a self-portrait sold in 2010 at Sotheby's in London.

Wednesday's auction at Christie's comes after Sotheby's sold more than $422 million worth of modern and impressionist art at an evening sale on Tuesday.

Tuesday's highlights were a 1950 bronze by Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti for $101 million and Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani's "Tete" for $70.7 million.

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