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Gauguin sculpture fetches record price

6th May 2011

A wooden sculpture by French artist Paul Gauguin has sold for a record USD 11.3 million (GBP 6.8 million) at auction in New York.

Auctioneers at Sotheby's had expected Jeune Tahitienne (Young Tahitian), which had not been seen in public for 50 years, to sell for between USD 10 million and 15 million.

The work takes the form of a wooden bust of a girl wearing earrings and a necklace and the price tag represents the highest ever paid for a Gauguin sculpture.

It is thought the 19th-century post-impressionist artist originally presented the sculpture to a friend's daughter in 1894 following an extended stay in the South Seas.

However, it falls short of the highest ever price for a Gauguin work, with his oil on canvas L'homme a la hache (The Man with an Axe) selling for USD 40.3 million at Christie's auction house in New York in November 2006.

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