A 1933 work by the Spanish artist Joan Miro failed to sell on Wednesday in a week that has seen other pieces sold for record prices at London auctions.
Miro's Peinture had been valued between £7m and £10m but went unsold at the Sotheby's event.
By contrast another Miro work, Painting-Poem from 1925, set a new record for the artist after selling for £16.8m at Christie's on Tuesday.
The same sale saw a Henry Moore figure go under the hammer for £19.1m.
The amount fetched by his Reclining Figure: Festival - a bronze piece commissioned for the Festival of Britain in 1951 - was the most paid for a British sculpture at auction since Damien Hirst's The Golden Calf went for £10.3m in 2008.
Another high-profile casualty on Wednesday was a 1901 landscape by the Austrian artist Gustav Klimt that failed to find a buyer willing to meet its £6m-£8m valuation.
After the Sotheby's auction, however, the painting - called Seeufer mit Birken, or Lakeshore with Birches - changed hands in a private transaction for £5.6m.
The highest price of the evening was set by L'Entree de Giverny en Hiver, a snowscape by Claude Monet that went for a cool £8.2m.
Overall the sale of impressionist and modern art raised £78.9m - a disappointing amount for an event expected to fetch as much as £113.3m.
Elsewhere in London this week, works by Pablo Picasso, Amedeo Modigliani, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Marc Chagall went up for grabs at Bonhams auction house.
Picasso took top honours at the auction on Tuesday, where his 1954 painting Notre Dame de Paris sold for £864,450.