Christie's hopes Monet's Nympheas will make $50m

A work from Monet's water lilies series is expected to provide the highlight of Christie's Evening Sale of Impressionist and Modern Art on November 7.

Nympheas is one of 250 depictions Monet produced of his Giverny garden, and one of 60 progressively abstract lily paintings he created between 1905 and 1908, working out at about one every three weeks.

Monet water lilies
Monet’s Nympheas, produced during his
prolific 1905-1908 period

Regarded as one of Monet's finest lily works, Nympheas will appear at the New York auction with a $50m high estimate. Were it to achieve this the oil would become the second most valuable Monet ever sold, surpassing The Railway bridge at Argenteuil from 1873, which made $41.5m in 2008.

The most valuable Monet is a later, large scale depiction of his beloved pond, Le Bassin aux nympheas, created in 1919. It sold for $80.4m at Christie's in 2008, almost doubling its $47m high estimate.

Brooke Lampley, head of impressionist and modern art at Christie's New York, commented: "The sheer beauty of the paintings in the Nympheas series make us forget that in 1905, these works were a radical departure from all traditional notions of landscape painting.

"Monet had traded his ordered views of the lily pond and its distant banks for close-up, destabilised depictions of the water surface itself. This daring move established Monet beyond any doubt as the most innovative landscape painter of his day."

Monet collectors should also view this autographed letter we currently have in stock from the artist.

The work comes from the estate of Ethel Strong Allen, the widow of Wall Street executive Herbert Allen Sr. Proceeds will go to help a not-for-profit independent school in New York State.

The sale will also feature a rare Kandinsky study, which has a $30m high estimate.

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