Sotheby's employees pose with 'Le Grand Canal', painted by Claude Monet, at Sotheby's preview in London January 28, 2015. REUTERS

Five paintings by French impressionist Claude Monet sold for a total of $84m (£55m) in a London auction which helped raise a record $283m (£186.5m) from the overall sale on Tuesday.

Monet's paintings sold included his famous 1908 'Le Grand Canal' view of Venice, which sold for $35.6m (£23.5m).

The sale was part of a Sotheby's auction of impressionist and modern art works including paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Henri Matisse, and sculptures by Picasso and Auguste Rodin.

"Tonight's London Imp., Modern & Surrealist sales achieved £186.5m - the highest total for any auction ever held in London, in any category," the auction house wrote on its Twitter account.

Other works sold included Monet's 'Les Peupliers a Giverny', which sold for $16.2m, says AFP.

The 19th-century art movement saw Impressionists venture into the open, painting in sunlight directly from nature, in art that predominantly was spontaneous and colourful as seen in Monet's works.

Matisse's colourful portrait of Turkish Princess Nezy-Hamide Chawkat sold for $23.8m.

Known for his stylistic innovations, Henri Matisse, one of the influential artists of the 20th century, sought to discover "the essential character of things" through his art "of balance, purity, and serenity," as noted in his 'Notes of a Painter.'

An owl sculpture 'Chouette' hand-painted by Pablo Picasso and inspired by his own pet owl, sold for $1.9m.

The auction also broke a record in the sale of $11.7m paid for a drawing by Georges Seurat -- a study for his monumental 'Une baignade, Asnieres' oil painting.