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Monet scores personal price record at New York auction

Monet's Meule (Haystack) at a press preview at Christie's
Monet's Meule (Haystack) at a press preview at Christie's AFP

One of Claude Monet's Haystack paintings sold 81.4 million dollars ( 76 million euros) - a record for the impressionist master - at auction in New York on Wednesday.

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The previous record for a Monet was 80.4 million dollars (75 million euros) for one of his Water Lilies paintings sold in London in June 2008.

Wednesday's auction lasted nearly 15 minutes, unusually long for such a sale, and the work was finally sold to buyers bidding by phone.

The Haystack painting, one of a series in which Monet followed the effect of changes in light on his subject, was painted in the winter of 1890-91 near his home in Giverny, Normandy.

It is one of the few still in private hands, according to auction house Christie's, most of the others being in Paris's Musée d'Orsay, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Art Institute in Chicago.

It was acquired in September 1891 by the Knoedler & Co art gallery, which took it the US.

Not such good news for Lindbergh's cap

In Paris on Wednesday an aviator's cap believed to have been worn by Charles Lindbergh in his historic flight across the Atlantic failed to find a buyer at Paris's Hôtel Drouot auction house.

It had been estimated at 60-80,000 euros but bidding failed to go over 52,000 euros.

Possible post-auction buyers have since indicated interest, auctioneer Nicolas Couvrand said.

Lindbergh was photographed wearing the leather cap in his plane, the Spirit of Saint Louis, during his non-stop flight from New York to Paris on 20-21 May 1927.

But he lost it during an aerobatic manoeuvre as he took off from Le Bourget airport to return on 27 May.

The next day a local resident found it in his garden and the family has kept hold of it ever since.

Couvrand is certain it is the cap in question because of where it was found and because of the stitching, which has been traced to Chicago hatmaker Von Lengerke & Antoine.

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