Claude Monet’s 1905 painting Nymphéas or Water Lilies sold for almost $43.8 millioin US Wednesday evening at Christie's auction of Impressionist and modern masters in New York.
Water Lilies was created during the period when the French painter was beginning a series of images centred around the lily pond at the heart of his garden in Giverny. The best of the nearly 60 increasingly abstract paintings from that period, including Water Lilies, were selected for his 1909 exhibition at Galerie Durand-Ruel in Paris, which launched Monet to commercial and critical success.
The painting remained in private collection until 1998, when owner Ethel Strong Allen loaned the work for a Monet exhibition at London’s Royal Academy of Arts and Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts.
She later donated it to the Hackley School in Tarrytown, New York, which is selling the work along with art by Impressionists Camille Pissarro and Alfred Sisley, also from her estate.
The Christie’s auction also includes Wassily Kandinsky's Studie Für Improvisation 8, which sold for $20.5 million. Influential Russian artist Kandinsky painted the abstract scene of a conquering hero wielding a golden sword in 1909.
Sculptures by Pablo Picasso, Monet, Alberto Giacometti and Constantin Brancusi will be offered for auction Wednesday, including Giacometti’s La Jambe (Leg), which sold for $11.3 million.