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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Paintings by Paul Cezanne and Gustav Klimt alongside a rare bronze from Italian sculptor Alberto Giacometti will form the star lots at a Sotheby's auction in London next month.
International auction house Sotheby's said its Evening Sale of Impressionist & Modern Art on February 3 will be the first ever London sale of its kind to include three works individually estimated to realize more than 10 million pounds ($16.11 million) each.
The auction will also feature paintings by Henri Matisse, Rene Magritte and Joan Miro among others, while sculptures on offer will include two works by Henry Moore.
Melanie Clore, Co-Chairman of Sotheby's Impressionist and Modern Art Department Worldwide, said that such pieces stirred an inexplicable passion inside the avid art collector.
"It's like falling in love," she said. "There's nothing rational about why you fall in love."
Cezanne's still-life "Pichet et fruits sur une table," painted in 1893-94, has been given an estimate of 10-15 million pounds and dates from the period when Cezanne's mastery of the still-life was at its height.
Sotheby's gave Klimt's "Kirche in Cassone (Landschaft mit Zypressen)" (Church in Cassone-Landscape with Cypresses) an estimate of 12-18 million pounds. Painted in 1913 it is the only surviving example of the artist's work depicting Lake Garda in Italy.
The painting was once owned by Austro-Hungarian iron magnate and collector Viktor Zuckerkandl (1851-1927) and his wife Paula and went missing in Vienna during the Nazi period, resurfacing several decades later.
It is now being offered for sale pursuant to an agreement between the now 81-year old great nephew of the original owner and the European private collector in whose family the painting has been for several years, Sotheby's said.
The sale of "L'Homme qui marche I" bronze will mark the first time a Giacometti figure of a walking man of this size has come to auction in over 20 years, Sotheby's said.
It has given the work -- cast in 1961 -- an estimated sale price of over 12 million pounds. The record for a Giacometti bronze was set at $27.4 million in May 2008 for a life-sized sculpture of a woman entitled "Grande femme debout II."
Matisse's "Femme couchee," estimated at 3.5-5.5 million pounds, is a magnificent example of the artist's favorite subject -that of a reclining woman in an interior - and this theme relates closely to his celebrated Odalisques series from the 1920s, the auction house said.
Probably painted in the artist's studio on the Quai Saint-Michel in Paris around 1917, Femme couchee reflects the artist's romantic and opulent approach that reached a culmination during his time in Nice.
Patrick Legant, Director of Sotheby's Impressionist and Modern Art Department said it was rare and rewarding to have the opportunity to sell something so rare.
"It's a little sad to see them go but it's a privilege to care for them for just while," he said.
Editing by Paul Casciato