Sotheby's London sold an Edouard Manet self-portrait at auction for $33.1 million (22.4 pounds) on Tuesday setting a record for the artist at auction. The number was actually at the lower end of pre-sale expectations of 20-30 million pounds. The painting is one of only two self-portraits by the artist and the only one in private hands but only one bidder Franck Giraud, a private dealer based in New York made an offer. The NY Times reports that Steven A. Cohen, who runs SAC Capital Management, was the owner of the painting and had paid as much as $35 to $40 million for the painting nearly a decade earlier from art loving casino mogul Steve Wynn.
The overall total for the sale was $165.2 million at the lower end of the $148.4 million to $217.5 million and 16 of the 51 works did not sell. In the NY Times article, Richard L. Feigen, a New York dealer, said that part of the issue was that while it's a great picture, Manet just doesn't have the marquee appeal of artists like Picasso and Giacommetti. In a world that worships the modern, Manet's painterly rendition of himself as a dated dandy simply doesn't excite the masses. Cohen himself has moved on to modern art picking up a 1958 "Flag" painting by Jasper Johns for a reported $110 million.