By: Judd Tully (blouinartinfo)

Dominated by trophy works by the likes of Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, and Pablo Picasso, Sotheby’s unleashed a rousing $368.3 million evening sale of Impressionist and Modern Art, setting the upbeat tone for what promises to be a huge auction season.

Fourteen of the 64 lots offered failed to find buyers for a fairly decent buy-in rate by lot of 22 percent. But thanks to ravenous bidding for top contenders, the tally flew past pre-sale expectations of $257.6-351 million. The result crushed last May’s $219 million for 50 sold lots when a $31.5 million Picasso, “Le sauvetage,” led the evening, and ranks second only to the $422.1 million record achieved in the same category in November 2014. Ten of the 49 works that sold made over $10 million, and of those, 43 sold for over $1 million. One artist record was set.

There was also a choice assortment of late 19th-century works from the Impressionist/Post-Impressionist epochs, led by (lot 18) Vincent van Gogh’s figure rich oil, “L’Allee des Alyscamps” from 1888, featuring strollers along a tree-lined autumnal promenade, that realized a whopping and top lot $66,330,000.