By Albert Chen
In a groundbreaking auction at Christie’s on November 9, 2023, Claude Monet’s masterpiece, “Le bassin aux nymphéas,” achieved a record-setting sale of USD 74,010,000. The iconic painting, dating from 1917-1919 and measuring 100.1 x 200.6 cm, surpassed all expectations, becoming one of the most expensive Monet artworks ever sold.
Widely celebrated as a landmark of late Impressionism, “Le bassin aux nymphéas” captures the essence of Monet’s famed gardens at Giverny. The large-scale canvas showcases the artist’s signature play of impasto and vibrant brushwork, offering a mesmerizing portrayal of the flowing planes of flowers and the expansive lily pond.
The auction result exceeded the undisclosed estimate, highlighting the painting’s significance and desirability in the art market. With a provenance tracing back fifty years within the same family collection, the sale adds to the allure of this captivating example from Monet’s water lily series.
Monet’s dedication to depicting the beauty of his Giverny gardens during the late 1910s marked a period of renewal and experimentation. “Le bassin aux nymphéas” exemplifies this transition, departing from smaller paysages d’eau to grand, monumental depictions that later found favor among the Abstract Expressionist movement.
The painting’s journey begins in 1883 when Monet, seeking a permanent home, moved his family to Giverny. The property, with its blossoming fruit trees and meticulously designed water garden, became the artist’s muse. Monet’s stepson, Jean-Pierre Hoschedé, recalled the deliberate planting of water lilies to enhance the visual impact of the pond.
“Le bassin aux nymphéas” stands as a masterful representation of the atmospheric environment of the pond. Monet’s focus on the water’s surface, reflections, and interplay of colors and light captures the viewer’s imagination. The recent sale at Christie’s reflects a renewed appreciation for Monet’s late works, bridging the worlds of figurative and abstract art.
Monet’s ambitious plans for large-scale depictions of water lilies, conceived in the late 1890s and briefly abandoned, saw a resurgence in 1914. The unveiling of the Grandes décorations, a series of twenty-two large panels donated to the French state, solidified his water lily theme’s enduring legacy.
“Le bassin aux nymphéas” not only set a new record for a Monet painting but also reaffirmed the artist’s status as a visionary. The groundbreaking sale at Christie’s cements Monet’s place in art history, showcasing the enduring appeal and influence of one of the art world’s most iconic figures.
Founded in 1766, Christie’s is a world-leading art and luxury business with a physical presence in 46 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific, and flagship international sales hubs in New York, London, Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva. Renowned and trusted for our expert live and online-only auctions, as well as bespoke Private Sales, Christie’s unparalleled network of specialists offers our clients a full portfolio of global services, including art appraisal, art financing, international real estate and education. Christie’s auctions span more than 80 art and luxury categories, at price points ranging from $500 to over $100 million.
The World Art News (WAN) is not liable for the content of this publication. All statements and views expressed herein are opinions only. Act at your own risk. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission. © The World Art News