Claude Monet's Meule (1891) sets new world record

Claude Monet's Meule (1891) has set a record for his work at auction.

The canvas was the lead lot of Christie's Impressionist and Modern Art sale on November 16, achieving $81.4m.

Claude Monet Meules
Claude Monet painted Meules (Grainstack) in the winter of 1891

That's around $1m more than the previous record - set for Le Bassin aux Nympheas (from his waterlilies series) at Christie's in 2008.

That the present lot eclipsed a Nympheas painting (still Monet's most desirable series) indicates the glowing health of his market.

It last sold for $11.9m in 1999 - that's formidable growth of 11.9% per annum over the past 17 years.  

Brooke Lampley, Christie's head of impressionist and modern art in New York, explained: "Monet's Grainstack is the culmination of 25 canvases painted of the same subject in varying light and weather conditions over many months between 1890 and 1891.

"The precursor to other serial subjects that would come to fruition in the renowned Water Lilies paintings that Monet devoted himself to at the end of his life.

"It's these works that elevate Monet beyond consummate Impressionist landscape painter, to radical innovator of the 20th Century abstraction."

We have this incredible handwritten letter from Monet for sale.

The sale also saw a new record for Wassily Kandinsky, whose Rigide et Courbe made $23.3m.

You can check out the results of the post-war and contemporary art auctions at Christie's and Sotheby's here.

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