Monet, Monet, Monet...Money!

Van Gogh's L'Allée des Alyscamps up for auction at Sotheby's New York Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale on May 5, 2015.
Source: Sotheby's
Van Gogh's L'Allée des Alyscamps up for auction at Sotheby's New York Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale on May 5, 2015.

The market for rare and fine art appears to be back with a vengeance

Tuesday night's evening sale of impressionist and modern art at Sotheby's totaled $368.3 million, raising the auction house's 2015 sales in this art category to $687.3 million.

The auction also reached the second highest result in Sotheby's history, for any auction of impressionist and modern art.

The top lot was a 1888 Vincent van Gogh painting which fetched $66.3 million after a furious, five-way bidding war.

Sold to a private Asian collector, the canvas achieved the highest auction price ever for a van Gogh, since 1998. It last sold for $12 million in 2003. That is nearly a 450 percent return, minus fees, in just thirteen years.

In 2014, only two works from Van Gogh's mature period (1888–1890) appeared at auction

"Nymphéas" by Claude Monet, 1905

The other standouts included five rare works by Claude Monet, including one from his famed 'Water Lilies"' series.

'Nympheas,' painted in 1905, sold for $54 million to an American private collector.

Works by Monet achieved $199.2 million at Sotheby's in 2015, following a collection of five paintings sold in London earlier this year

In 2014, Sotheby's sold 18 works by Monet for $190.5 million

More than one-third of the evening's sale came to auction after fifty or more years displayed in their respective private collections.

Fifty percent of the lots had never appeared at auction before.

Sotheby's said Asian collectors bought three of the top five lots. and accounted for one-third of all sales.