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LAMA spring sale brings record price for
Francois-Xavier Lalanne bronze monkeys

May 28, 2010 |  8:30 am
Lot2359The art market is on fire: A bronze  pair of monkeys by the late French sculptor Francois-Xavier Lalanne, expected to fetch between $100,000 and $125,000, sold for $199,062.50 at Sunday's Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA) spring sale. That was a record price for the artwork.

The art and design auction was one of the modern auction house's best ever, selling 64% of the 451 lots available and totaling $1.67 million.

"The last two sales have been very strong," said LAMA director Peter Loughrey. "What we've done is move towards a slightly higher price point. The top-priced pieces in the sale, such as the Warhols, did extremely well. I think people who have a lot more expendable income don't want to put it in to traditional monetary instruments."

Other surprises included intense bidding on the Eames "hang-it-all" (lower right) from the home of the late A. Quincy Jones and his wife Elaine K. Sewell Jones.

"The rack was a gift from Ray Eames to Elaine," said Loughery. "The condition was perfect. A major, major museum almost got the piece."

Lot2409Estimated to sell for $3,000, it sold for $8,575.

Other items that far exceeded expectations: a collection of Pipsan Saarinen Swanson  outdoor patio furniture sold for $14,700 and one of John McLaughlin's smaller paintings, sold for $27,563.

"The higher-end buyers are there and they want to buy things," said Loughrey. "People think it's a bad time to sell? It's a good time to sell." 

-- Lisa Boone

Photo credits: Los Angeles Modern Auctions