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Taking the top honours at the November 6 sale, which took a premium-inclusive $67.5m (£43.3m) over 54 lots, of which 40 found buyers, was the Picasso bronze La guenon et son petit. From the collection of Mr and Mrs Norman Ganz, the 211/4in (54cm) high figure of a baboon cradling her young took a record $6.1m (£4m) hammer from an American private.

The other sculptural record was taken by Picasso’s friend and fellow Spaniard Julio Gonzales. His 1937 welded iron Homme gothique was entered by the Foundation Hartung and, against pre-sale hopes of $1.5-2m, sold to a European private at $3.1m (£2m).

Monet’s Nymphéas was the toast of Sotheby’s Part I sale on November 6, which took a premium-inclusive $81.5m (£52.3m) over 66 lots, of which 68 per cent sold by lot and 74 per cent by value. Sotheby’s specialist-in-charge Charles Moffett described Nymphéas, which dated from 1906, as “one of the most beautiful and striking works in the artist’s 1903-1908 series” and Monet himself selected it to be included in the 1909 exhibition of the Water Lilies paintings at the Galerie Durand-Ruel. Estimated at $16-20m, it sold to an American private at $17m (£11.3m).

The sale also saw new auction records for Théo van Rysselberghe, Max Ernst and Henri Laurens. Absent from the May Impressionist and Modern sales, Phillips de Pury & Luxembourg this time round managed to put together Part I and II sales on November 4 and 5. But the impressive results witnessed at Sotheby’s and Christie’s eluded them, with just 19 of the 44 lots selling at Part I, which took $6.2m (£4.13m) against a low estimate of $49.3m. Part II didn’t fare much better, with 18 of the 36 lots getting away, and the $1.2m (£800,000) sale total almost half the low pre-sale estimate. Of the few pieces that did get away, Die Zeitungsleser (The Newspaper Readers), an oil on canvas by Lionel Feininger, was the most successful, taking a top-estimate $2m (£1.3m). Exchange rate £1 = $1.5