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.
This past week, a single Christie's auction for part of the Rockefeller collection reached a record of $646 Million in sales. Here, many of Monet’s paintings reaching bids much (much) higher than their appraised value!
The auction has 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)
5. Nymphéas (Water Lilies), 1905
$43.8 million, sold via Christie's New York in November 2012
The water lilies collection has been compared to the last quartets of Beethoven and Michelangelo’s Sistine chapel. Surprisingly, Monet had no intention of showcasing this collection. However, museums all over the world now hold most of his pieces and draw in crowds of visitors year after year!
This water lilies artwork from 1905 has a dark tone associated with it. The sky does not shine through and no light is reflected onto the water. Many studies have been conducted about how light and atmosphere change the look and feel of the same subject matter. This is a true Monet characteristic!
4. Nymphéas (Water Lilies), 1906
$54 million, sold via Sotheby's London in June, 2014
“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.
3. Le Bassin aux Nymphéas (Water Lily Pond), 1919
$80.5 million, sold via Christie's London in June, 2008
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”.
2. Meule (Grainstack), 1890-1891
$81.4 million, sold via Christie’s New York in November 2016
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.
1. Nymphéas en fleur (Water Lilies in Bloom), 1914-1917
$84.6 million, sold via Christie's New York on May 8th, 2018
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.
Your Very Own Monet Masterpiece
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.