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Rodin sculpture fetches record price

Associated Press Associated Press 10/05/2016

A rare marble sculpture by Auguste Rodin has sold for a record $US20.4 million ($A27.88 million) at Sotheby's sale of impressionist and modern art.

Rodin's Eternal Springtime was created out of a single block of marble in 1901-1903.

It features a floral motif base of two lovers in a passionate embrace and is believed to be the fifth in a series of 10 known carvings of the subject that Rodin created in marble.

The previous auction record for any Rodin sculpture was Iris, Messenger of the Gods, a bronze work owned by Sylvester Stallone that sold for $US16.6 million in February.

Other highlights among the 62 works offered at the Monday evening sale included Paul Signac's The Port Houses, Saint-Tropez. It sold for $US10.7 million, well within its pre-sale estimate of $US8 to $US12 million.

An important example of the pointillist style, the bright painting depicts the French coastal town of Saint-Tropez in 1882. It was the first time the neo-impressionist artist had visited the town, a place he returned to often.

The Saint-Tropez painting has been in the same family for nearly 60 years, purchased in 1958 by the parents of John Langeloth Loeb Jr, the former US ambassador to Denmark.

The auction record for a Signac work is $US14 million, achieved in 2007.

Sotheby's also offered two major works created during the short-lived Fauve period. Maurice de Vlaminck's 1905 landscape near Paris, Underbrush, brought in $US16.4 million.

The auction record for de Vlaminck is $US22.5 million, set in 2011.

Another Fauve painting, Andre Derain's 1906 view of the River Thames, Red Sails, went unsold. It was estimated to sell between $US15 and $US20 million.

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