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Vincent wonder

London, June 25 (Reuters): Three works by Dutch expressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh, including a long-lost pen-and-ink sketch, sold for more than £8.4 million yesterday, auction-house Christie’s said.

Auctioneers reported a “strong American presence” at the Impressionist and Modern Art sale, which brought in a total of over £25 million.

Nearly £3.37 million was paid for Une Liseuse de Romans, an image of a young woman reading a book that Van Gogh painted in 1888 shortly before he suffered a breakdown and severed part of his left ear.

The pen and ink sketch La Maison de Vincent a Arles, described by Christie’s as a “fascinating explanatory drawing with a letter on the reverse to his brother”, fetched £845,250.

Nature Morte, Vase avec Oeillets, an oil on canvas of a vase of flowers painted in 1890, sold for £4.26 million .

Kiwi brothel

Wellington (Reuters): Brothels will now be legal in New Zealand — its parliament narrowly voted on Wednesday to overturn the country’s 100-year-old sex laws which ban soliciting and living off the earnings of prostitution. Parliamentarians voted 60 to 59 in favour of the Bill to decriminalise prostitution, drawing cheers from prostitutes and their supporters in the legislature’s packed public galleries. “We passed tonight the world’s best sex industry legislation,” said Labour politician Tim Barnett, who has long championed changing New Zealand’s sex laws. “It’s focused on real harms rather than trying to make moral judgments about the sex industry,” he said. Under present laws, prostitution itself is not illegal but associated acts such as brothel-keeping, soliciting and living off the earnings of prostitution are.

Nun’s luck

New York (Reuters): A former nun’s prayers were answered last weekend when she won $1.5 million on an Atlantic City slot machine. Catherine Foy, 56, who was once with the Sister Servants of the Holy Heart of Mary, had spent only nine quarters, or $2.25, when the winning bells began ringing at Caesars Atlantic City. “I always knew the Lord was going to help me pay my bills. I just didn’t know that it would be so soon,” Foy said in a statement issued by the makers of the slot machine, International Game Technology. Philadelphia resident Foy has already received the first of 20 annual payments of $78,000, the company said. The former lady of the cloth, now a social work supervisor for the city of Philadelphia, plans to pay off her bills, make a donation to the nuns and share the money with her family in the United States and in Cuba.


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