Gothamist loves this story: The big impressionist and modern art auction at Sotheby's last night did not disappiont, as a mysterious man bid $95 million for the famous Picasso, Dora Maar with a black cat. The NY Times says that witnesses say he sounded Russian and give further reasons why the bidder was an enigma:

He was obviously new to both Sotheby's executives, who would never have seated him in such a remote spot had they realized what a big spender he would be, and to the auction process, as evidenced by the relentless and unsophisticated manner in which he waved his paddle. (More seasoned buyers would have been more discreet and wily.)

And he did not come just to buy the Picasso. Earlier he snapped up an 1883 Monet seascape for $5 million and later a 1978 Chagall biblical scene, "Paradise," for $2.5 million, spending a total of $102.7 million.

And that Monet used to be owned by Tyco disgrace L. Dennis Kozlowski! Anyway, we would guess that Sotheby's did an immediate credit check (or delighted in seeing a briefcase full of cash, gold or jewels) to make sure the bidder was legit, before chairman David Norman said, “The outstanding price achieved tonight by Picasso’s portrait of Dora Maar is a reflection of this quality-driven market. Works of this caliber are so remarkably rare that we could wait another generation before we see such a great Picasso appear at auction." Gothamist hopes that whoever is the new owner of the painting will lend it out - it hasn't been seen in 40 years!

The Christie's auction of impressionist and modern art did well, though not as well as the one at Sotheby's (Picasso beats van Gogh). And speaking of Picasso, check out this Google Video of Charlie Rose at the Matisse/Picasso exhibit at the MoMA QNS. (A Matisse, Recliding Nude, View of Her Back, auctioned off at Sotheby's for $18.4 million.)