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Melanie Clore, deputy chairman of Sotheby’s Europe and head of the Impressionist and Modern Art department, said: “We have decided to move our winter sales to February in order to offer sellers and buyers a more integrated programme of sales worldwide. By having the sales after Christmas, we hope to provide a more balanced annual sale schedule and also to invigorate a traditionally less active period of the year.”

The Impressionist sale Part One will now take place on Monday, February 5, 2001, with Part Two the following day. Contemporary Art Part One will be held on February 7 with Part Two the following day.

A selection of major works of art from the sales will be exhibited in New York, Paris and Zurich during January.