As both a pioneer and leader in impressionist painting, Claude Monet challenged tradition in the art world. His inspiring and jaw-dropping paintings have led his work to be considered as priceless to many.
In May 2019, at Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art evening sale, the artist set a record for the first painting from the Impressionist movement to surpass $100 Milllion!
The auction inspired us to review the most expensive Monet paintings sold throughout history; well at least so far!
(Feature Photo Credit: Sam Giorgio Maggiore by Twilight, 1908. Held at the National Museum Wales)
“One instant, one aspect of nature contains it all,” said Claude Monet referring to his collection of water lilies. This Nymphéas stands out from other artworks in his collection because of the exceptional attention of detail, shimmering light, and shadows. This was one of Monet’s first paintings to capture the delicate flowers at different times of the day. Monet‘s water lilies became his most celebrated inspiration and arguably the reason for his success.
Photo Source: Sotheby's
Le Bassin aux nymphéas is a quintessential example of Monet’s late-period water lilies, richly colored in deep blues and greens, and deeply abstract—as clear a departure as any of the artist’s late period works from the more “precise, and subject-oriented” water lilies that Monet painted beginning in the late 1890s. It’s also an impressive 40" x 79".
Photo Source: Christie's
Going to auction for the first time in 2008, this piece was the most expensive artwork sold in Europe by auction at the time. The striking artwork nearly doubled the previous record price of his piece called Le Pont du Chemin de Fer a Argenteuil. Consequently, Le Bassin aux Nymphéas has been described as the greatest water lily painting to be offered at auction and measures an impressive 39” x 120”.
Meule, one of the last pieces in the Grainstack series, is considered the most adventurous of all, leading to record auction prices. The series captures the atmosphere surrounding the haystack, rather than the haystack itself. This one of a kind piece not only intrigues the audience but also makes it seem as if you are experiencing this scene alongside Monet.
Photo Source: Christie's
Nymphéas en fleur, translated to “water lilies in bloom” is one of many pieces in this series by Monet. He created bigger and bolder pieces, which is reflective of the avant-garde style often used during and after the First World War. The breathtaking and powerful painting is one of nearly sixty canvases that Monet has painted between 1914 and 1917.
The water lilies in his pond were almost exclusively the center of his inspiration during this period. Techniques used in the Nymphéas en fleur were used to test ideas and visual effects for his last, and most ground-breaking piece, Grandes décorations. The 22 mural-sized canvas was donated to the French state and can be seen in l’Orangerie Museum, Paris.
Photo Source: Sotheby's
In May 2019, Meules by Claude Monet sold for double its pre-estimated value of $55 Million. The gavel came down at full force when a bid of $97 Million dollars bellowed the walls of the Sotheby’s auction room on May 14th, 2019. With fees, the piece came to be $110.7 Million dollars, this winning bid shattered Monet’s previous record (read on to find out exactly). Not only did Meules take the cake on validating the value of the French Impressionist, the bid on this piece made it the first Impressionist piece to surpass $100 Million!
Meules is one of eight pieces left in private hands from the entirety of the Haystacks series. August Uribe, Sotheby’s Head of Impressionist and Modern Art stated: “One of the most recognizable images in art history, Claude Monet’s Haystacks series has long served as an inspiration to countless artists since its creation in the early 1890s.” Monet created the Haystacks series between 1880 and 1891, inspired by the fields by his home in Giverny, Northern France. The Impressionist Master was taken away by the light changes throughout the day in those very fields. In an art historical context, the series signifies the dexterity in his craft as he was able to paint the same subject multiple times under different lighting, atmospheric conditions, and in different seasons.
With three of Claude Monet’s masterpieces being sold at the Christie’s Rockefeller Auction this past week, who knows when the next Monet will be put up for auction!
Now you have the opportunity to own a Monet for your personal collection! Verus Art has leveraged innovative technologies that have resulted in the most accurate and authentic 3D re-creations! Through our work with the National Gallery of Canada, Monet’s brushwork has been captured, resulting in flawless details in the Stormy Sea and Jean-Pierre Hoschedé and Michel Monet on the Bank of the Epte paintings.
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