Pierre-Auguste Renoir - Bal du moulin de la Galette 1876

Pierre-Auguste Renoir Bal du moulin de la Galette 1876

Bal du moulin de la Galette 1876
78x114cm oil/canvas
Sold for: USD 78.1 million
Auction house: Sotheby's, New York
Sale date: 17 May 1990
Seller: Betsey Whitney
Buyer: Ryoei Saito

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Renoir painted a smaller version of the picture (78 × 114 cm) with the same title. The painting is now believed to be in a private collection in Switzerland. Apart from their size, the two paintings are virtually identical, although the smaller is painted in a more fluid manner than the d'Orsay version. One is presumably a copy of the original, but it is not known which is the original. It is not even known which was the one first exhibited at the 3rd Impressionist exhibition of 1877, because although the painting was catalogued and given favourable attention by critics, its entry did not indicate the size of the painting, information that would serve to identify it.
For many years it was owned by John Hay Whitney. On May 17, 1990, his widow sold the painting for US$78 million at Sotheby's in New York City to Ryoei Saito (Saitō Ryōei), the honorary chairman of Daishowa Paper Manufacturing Company, Japan.
At the time of sale, it was one of the top two most expensive artworks ever sold, together with van Gogh's Portrait of Dr. Gachet, which was also purchased by Saito. Saito caused international outrage when he suggested in 1991 that he intended to cremate both paintings with him when he died. However, when Saito and his companies ran into severe financial difficulties, bankers who held the painting as collateral for loans arranged a confidential sale through Sotheby's to an undisclosed buyer. Although not known for certain, the painting is believed to be in the hands of a Swiss collector.
As of January 2013 the Bal du moulin de la Galette is sixth (when adjusted for the consumer price index) on the list of most expensive paintings ever sold.