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NYC Art Auction Brings in Nearly $400 Million

A painting by French artist Henri Matisse was the top seller at an art auction in New York City Tuesday night.

An unidentified buyer paid nearly $34 million for a 1937 Matisse portrait ("L'Odalisque, Harmonie Bleue"). It was far above the estimated $20 million set by Christie's auction house. The price broke the record of nearly $22 million paid for a Matisse painting at London's Sotheby's auction house in June.

Two other portraits which sold for more than $30 million include a 1955 work by Pablo Picasso ("Femme accroupie au costume turc [Jacqueline]"), and a 1916 work by Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani ("Portrait du Sculpteur Oscar Miestchanioff").

Christie's auction of 91 Impressionist and modern art works brought in a total of $395 million, the second-highest amount ever.

The price eased concerns in the art world that the recent mortgage crisis in the United States will depress the art market as the fall auction season begins.

Sotheby's will auction off several Impressionist and modern art works Wednesday.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.