Historic Gauguin painting fails to sell at London auction

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An historic painting by French post-Impressionist artist Paul Gauguin failed to sell at a London auction Wednesday despite being displayed for the first time in 15 years.

"Nature morte a 'L'Esperance'" was expected to sell for around 10 million pounds (16.1 million dollars, 11.7 million euros) when it appeared at Christie's auction house, but failed to meet its reserve price.

The 1901 painting, which depicts sunflowers in tribute to friend Vincent van Gogh, was displayed at the 1906 Salon d'Automne exhibition that strongly influenced modern pioneers Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso.

The most expensive item of the auction was Pierre Bonnard's "Terrasse a Vernon," which sold for 7.2 million pounds. The "colourist" painting portrays the view from the French painter's Norman house.

Christie's auction, which raised 61.8 million pounds, came a day after rival London auction house Sotheby's held its own Impressionist and Modern art sale, which raised 68.8 million pounds.

© 2011 AFP

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