Monet Painting Sells For Over $80 Million
I'm no art critic, which is perhaps why I'm a little mystified by the astronomical sale of Le Bassin aux Nympheas by Claude Monet for £40,921,250, ($80,451,178) at a recent sale at Christie's London. This new sale obliterates the record set at Christie's New York in May by Monet's "Le Pont du chemin de fer a Argenteuil" which went for $41.181 million.
Le Bassin aux Nymphéas was fought for by three bidders, two on the telephone and one woman at the front of the room. The Guardian reports that at one point the woman bidder asked for more time but she eventually had the winning bid. The painting is one of Monet's large-scale Nymphéas which led to his Grandes décorations, the frieze now in the Musée de l'Orangerie, Paris. Dated 1919, when Monet signed the picture and sold it with three sister-works, Le bassin aux nymphéas is one of the tiny handful of pictures from this period that he sold.
As the Guardian article mentioned, quoting art expert Charles Dupplin, right now the art market is an interesting spot. Records are being smashed all over the place while the middle section of the market appears to be sagging. This mimics in some ways the state of the entire luxury market which has remained robust at the ultra high end but has shown serious weakness in the lower and middle ranges.