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Piasa's sales dipped 19 per cent to Fr254m (£24.5m), with a value buy-in rate of just 10 per cent. The drop reflected the exceptional success of the Dora Maar sales in 1998.

As reported in Antiques Trade Gazette No. 1421, Etude Tajan remained out in front with 1999 sales of Fr421m (£40.7m).

Millon-Robert ranked fourth with sales of Fr150m (£14.5m). Fifth-ranking Francis Briest reported a 39 per cent rise to Fr112m (£10.8m). Modern art brought almost one-half of that sum, and sales of contemporary art tripled to Fr32m (Fr3.1m). Half the firm's buyers came from abroad: a quarter from other E.U. countries, the rest split mainly between Switzerland and the US. Overall buy-in rate (by value) was 28 per cent. All figures exclude premium.