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Monet masterpiece sells for almost €100 million at New York auction

The anonymous collector who brought the painting to be auctioned had bought it for €2.2 million.

Image: DPA/PA Images

A CLAUDE MONET painting from his celebrated Mueles – or Haystacks - series sold for €98 million in an auction record for the French impressionist painter.

The work went up for auction at Sotheby’s in New York on Tuesday – the first time since 1986 – and claimed one of the highest prices ever seen at auction. 

The total, which includes fees and the commission, was more than 44 times the previous record for the work.

It was the first time an impressionist painting commanded such a high bid at auction.

Monet painted 25 Mueles compositions during the winter of 1890-1891 at his home in Giverny, in France’s Normandy region. 

In each piece, Monet showed the light and surroundings of the same scene as they changed at different times of the day, with varying seasons and during various types of weather.

Another painting from the series was sold in November 2016 by Christie’s auction house in New York for more than €72 million.

The latest piece sold at Sotheby’s is among the most immediately recognizable Monet  paintings.

“We feel – and I think people when they stand in front of this would largely agree – that this is an even nicer example” than the one sold in 2016, Sotheby’s Julian Dawes said. 

“It’s enchanting, you just can’t look away,” he added. 

The anonymous collector who brought the painting to be auctioned had purchased it in 1986 at Christie’s for just $2.5 million.

The last record for a Monet painting was set in May 2018 during a Christie’s sale when his Nympheas en Fleur or ‘Water Lilies in Bloom’ sold for €75 million.

“This could be a defining moment for Monet’s market,” Dawes said.

Despite the allure and popularity of contemporary art, Dawes said impressionism has an enduring quality.

“Something that I really like about impressionism in general is that the market tends to be really consistent. People love impressionism,” he added.

“It doesn’t change from generation to generation. These paintings are 150 years old and they’ve always been beloved.”

© – AFP 2019

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