24 Feb 2009

Record price for Matisse work

9:52 pm on 24 February 2009

A work by Henri Matisse has sold for a record 32 million euros at an auction of the private art collection of the late Yves Saint Laurent.

Cuckoos on a blue and pink carpet surpassed the previous record for a similar work by the French painter, set in 2007.

Bids totalling 206 million euros were made on the opening day of the three-day auction of the collection of the late French couturier and his former partner Pierre Berge.

Auctioneers said the collection of 733 items could fetch up to 300 million euros.

The BBC reports the collection was amassed over the course of half a century.

Earlier on Monday, a Paris court rejected a bid by China to stop the sale of two 18th-century bronze statues.

Beijing said they were looted 150 years ago and should be in a museum.

Yves Saint Laurent died of cancer aged 71 in June last year. The proceeds of the auction are to help create a new foundation for Aids research.