LONDON (AP) — One of the defining images of French impressionism is up for sale, as Sotheby's auctions Edouard Manet's "Le Bar aux Folies-Bergere."
The auction house says the painting will be offered at a June 24 sale in London, with an estimated price of 15 million pounds to 20 million pounds ($23 million to $30.7 million).
The 1881 oil painting of a barmaid at the famous Parisian cabaret has featured in numerous exhibitions, including the recent "Inventing Impressionism" show at Britain's National Gallery.
"This is one of Manet's most famous subjects, and an absolute classic impressionist image of Parisian nightlife," said Philip Hook, Sotheby's senior international specialist in impressionist and modern art. He called the painting one of the most important Manets still in private hands.
It is the earlier of two renderings by Manet of the same scene. A later, larger version is in London's Courtauld Gallery. Hook said the earlier one is distinguished by the "wonderful spontaneity" of its brushstrokes.
The painting last sold at auction in 1994 for 4.4 million pounds. Prices for high-end artworks have soared in recent years as wealthy buyers from Russia, China and the Middle East flex their financial muscles.
"Every new generation of collectors is drawn to the impressionists in a most magical way," Hook said Monday. "That is true of the new buyers we see from the emerging economies."
Last month Sotheby's sold "Nympheas," one of Claude Monet's iconic water lily paintings, for $54 million, well above its pre-sale estimate, as part of a bumper impressionist and modern sale.
On May 11, rival auctioneer Christie's sold Pablo Picasso's painting "Women of Algiers (Version O)" for $179.4 million, the highest sum ever paid for an artwork at auction.