Six Impressionist masterpieces by Claude Monet have gone on view in London ahead of Sotheby’s latest Impressionist and Modern auction in New York. Nympheas (Water Lilies) which has not been seen in public since 1945, is expected to sell for an estimated $30-45m (£20.5m-£13m), when it goes under the hammer on 5 May. The Nymphéas paintings are among the most celebrated series in Impressionist art. The lily pond in the artist’s garden at Giverny provided the subject matter for most of his major late works, recording the evolution of his style and his constant pictorial innovations.
The six works, which have been held in private collections, are expected to raise in excess of $78m (£53.5m). The other works are Le Palais Ducal painted in 1908 in Venice; Bassin aux nympheas, les rosiers (1913); Le Chemin d’Epinay, effet de neige (1875); La Seine a Vetheuil (1901), and Au Val Saint-Nicolas pres Dieppe, matin (1897). The impressionist’s works will be on show in London until 14 April, before returning to New York where they will be on view from 1 May.
This outstanding group of six paintings by Claude Monet, spanning the 1870s through the 1910s and including many of his most celebrated subjects: water lilies, Venice, a snowscape, the Seine and the Normandy coast. The works are emerging after significant time spent in their respective private collections, including a prime example of the artist’s iconic Nymphéas (‘Water
Simon Shaw, Co-Head of Sotheby’s Worldwide Impressionist & Modern Art Department, commented: “The six works by Monet that we are privileged to present this May represent exactly what buyers are seeking at this moment: several of his most famous scenes, emerging from prestigious private collections and completely fresh to the market. We’re undeniably witnessing an exceptional moment for great works by Monet at Sotheby’s. As new generations and new markets rediscover the master, the supply of strong examples remaining in private hands is shrinking fast. The result is fierce competition that leads to the results we have witnessed recently at Sotheby’s.”
Sotheby’s sold 18 works by Monet in 2014, with buyers from the US, UK, Europe, the Middle East and Asia demonstrating the global appeal of his enduring genius in today’s market. The works together achieved a remarkable $190.5 million, led by another example of the Nymphéas paintings (dated to 1906) that sold for $54.1 million – the second-highest price for any work by the artist at auction. Sotheby’s sold five works by Monet in our February 2015 Evening Sale of Impressionist & Modern Art in London, which together totaled $83.8 million. That group was led by Le Grand Canal, another Venice picture that fetched $35.8 million – the current auction record for a Venice scene by the artist.