Art History With Claude Monet’s Monumental Water Lily Painting
The story of this Monet water lily painting starts 100 years ago with the 1918 Armistice.
The upcoming fall auction season in New York has a plethora of treasures—seemingly even more than usual. In recent weeks, major auction houses have been rolling out a steady stream of blockbuster consignments, many hailing from the estates of prestigious collectors.
One of the standouts, coming up at Christie’s evening sale of Impressionist and modern art on November 11, is the monumental water lily painting Le bassin aux nymphéas (1917–19) by Claude Monet. The four- by six-and-a-half-foot canvas will undoubtedly will make headlines if it hits its lofty $30 million to $50 million estimate. If it meets the high expectation, it will fall within the top 10 works by Monet ever sold at auction.
“It’s interesting to see the important hands that this painting has passed through,” said Jessica Fertig, Christie’s head of Impressionist and modern evening sales for New York. “Monet was purposely working on this larger scale for grand decoration. These larger ones are rare to the market.”