On Thursday, Christie’s announced that the famous water lily painting by Claude Monet will go on auction with a price tag of $65 million.
Le bassin aux nymphéas was painted by Monet sometime between 1917-1919. The painting, which is 2×1 meters, depicts water lilies from Monet’s own Giverny gardens. It was on Monet’s estate at the time of his death in 1926. The work will hit the auction block in November at Christie’s 20th century evening sale, with an estimate of $65 million. It will also be sold with a guarantee.
Part of the hype around the work is that it has never been displayed publicly. Since 1972, it has also been in the same private collection. Both of these factors ensure that the work must be in great condition, despite being over a century old. The same sentiment was echoed by Max Carter (Vice President, 20th & 21st Century Art, Christie’s): “As far as we can tell, it has never been seen publicly, which also means it is in great condition.”
In 2018, Nymphéas en fleur (1914–17) – a similar painting that also depicted the Giverny gardens of Monet – was sold for $84.7 million at Christie’s. This became a personal record for the artist until it was broken a year later at Sotheby’s. Meules (Haystacks) (1890) sold for $110.7 million; it not only set a new record for Monet but also for any Impressionist work.