Claude Monet’s iconic work from 1905 fetches $44 million

Claude Monet’s iconic work from 1905 fetches $44 million

NEW YORK - Reuters
Claude Monet’s iconic work from 1905 fetches $44 million

‘Nympheas,’ one of Monet’s iconic water lilies, was sold for $44 million.

A Monet water lilies painting sold for nearly $43.8 million on Nov 7 while a Kandinsky fetched an artist’s record $23 million as Christie’s kicked off the auction season with a sale that saw many mid-level works failing to find buyers.

“Nympheas,” one of Monet’s iconic water lilies from 1905, executed during his years at Giverny, had been estimated to sell for $30 million to $50 million.

Wassily Kandinsky’s “Studie fur Improvisation 8,” meanwhile, hit the low end of its $20 million to $30 million estimate, and set a new auction record for the Russian artist. The vibrant work was being sold by Switzerland’s Volkart Foundation.

But 30 percent of the 69 works on offer failed to sell when bids failed to reach the reserve, the secret price at which a client has agreed to sell a work.

In all the auction took in a total of just under $205 million, missing the low pre-sale estimate of about $210 million (estimates do not include commission charges of about 12 percent). The high estimate was about $315 million.

Christie’s nonetheless said it was pleased with the results.

“It was very, very strong sale, with great results” for top lots including the Monet, and a Brancusi sculpture “Une muse,” which sold for $12.4 million, said Brooke Lampley, head of Impressionist and modern art.

In all, six lots sold for more than $10 million each.

Other highlights included Miro’s “Peinture (Femme, Journal, Chien), which went for $13.75 million, and Picasso’s “Buste de femme,” and oil on canvas that at $13 million was one of the few works to beat its pre-sale estimate handily.

Proceeds from the Monet sale will benefit a private prep school in Tarrytown, N.Y., which received the work in a bequest.