Monet's water lilies fetches record USD 54 million

Last Updated 24 June 2014, 05:58 IST

An iconic painting of water lilies by French artist Claude Monet sold for 31.72 million pounds (USD 54 million) at a Sotheby's auction here, the second highest price paid for his work worldwide.

"Nympheas (Water Lilies)", which is among most celebrated paintings of turn of the century went to an anonymous bidder in last evening's sale, a statement by auctioneers said.

The Impressionist and Modern Art sale raked in total sales of 122 million pounds (USD 207,875,707) driven by bidding from Asia and Russia and sold 91.3 per cent by lots.
Monet, considered the founder of Impressionistic style of painting, executed the work at the famous lily pond in his garden in Givency. The water reflects the skies' shifting hues and the lilies themselves are elegant touches of paint.

The painting was sourced from the personal collection of French art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel has been displayed in the world's top art galleries, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Musee National d'Art Moderne in Paris.

A quintessential piece by Dutch artist Piet Mondarin titled "Composition with Red, Blue and Grey" (1927) sold at the same auction also the second-highest price ever paid for a work by the artist at auction.

Kept by Mondrian in his personal collection until his death in 1944, this is one of very few major works by the artist to come to market in decades.

Helena Newman, Sotheby's Co-Head of Impressionist and Modern Art Worldwide, said, "At the core of the sale this evening was a significant group of works from private and estate collections which were met with great enthusiasm and drove global bidding throughout the auction, with notable participation from Asian and Russian collectors."

A group of four artworks from the collection of Ralph C Wilson, Jr, brought a combined total of 20,874,000 pounds highlighted by two exquisite paintings by Claude Monet.

The "Antibes, vue du plateau Notre Dame" sold for 7,922,500 pounds( USD 13,503,901) and "La Seine a Argenteuil sold for 8,538,500 pounds (USD 14,553,873).

Ralph C Wilson, Jr., who died earlier this year, was also a passionate collector of the highest order.

Last evening's sale included 17 works from the estate of Jan Krugier, which totalled a combined 27,134,500 pounds over double the low estimate.

Wassily Kandinsky's "Herbstlandshaft (Autumn Landscape) sold for 5,570,500 pounds (USD 9,494,917).

Max Beckmann's "Stilleben mit Grammophon und Schwertlilien acheived 4,786,500 pounds (USD 8,158,589).

Other works which achieved strong aution prices were Marc Chagall's "Coq rouge dans la nuit" (1944) which sold for 1.9 million pounds.

Pablo Picasso's, "Le Taureau (1949-50)" sold for 1.8 million pounds  more than four times the high estimate.

Alexej von Jawlensky's, "Stilleben mit Hyazianthe, blauem Krug und Apfeln (1912)" sold for £602,000, over double the high estimate.

Edvard Munch's, "Hus i Borre" (1904-5) sold for 1 million pounds and Tamara de Lempicka's "Suzanne au Bain" (1938) sold for 2.4 milion pounds.

(Published 24 June 2014, 05:58 IST)

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