“Street Scene in Montmartre,” a rare painting by Vincent Van Gogh which had remained in the same family collection for more than 100 years, out of the public eye, was sold at auction Thursday by Sotheby’s Paris for 13.1 million euros ($15.4 million). Van Gogh’s painting shows Parisians walking through a rural and sparse landscape in Montmartre. A couple stroll and two children play in front of a wooden fence and leafless trees depicted in the characteristic tan and brown tones of his “Dutch palette”. It was painted in 1887, one year after Van Gogh moved to Paris and lived in Montmartre. This week it was placed on public display for the very first time since it was painted 135 years ago.The auction house had expected it to sell for between 5 million euros and 8 million euros. The auction took place in Paris with bidding online or by phone from Paris, New York and Hong Kong. The identity of the buyer has not been divulged.
Van Gogh’s market value skyrocketed throughout the 20th century.The last Van Gogh sold at a public auction, “Labourer in a Field” from 1889, went for $81 million at a New York sale in 2017. It was among over 30 works being sold by Sotheby’s on Thursday from masters including Modigliani, Rodin, Camille Claudel, Degas, Klee and Magritte. Other highlights included the sale of a recently restored work by Camille Pissarro, “La Recolte des pois”, which fetched 3.38 million euros. It had been originally commissioned by Van Gogh’s brother, Theo.