Auction  May 14, 2021  Anna Claire Mauney

Large Monet Water Lilies Sell For $70.4 Million 

Courtesy Sotheby's

Claude Monet, Le Bassin aux Nymphéas, c. 1917-19.

Sotheby’s blended in-person and digital experiences to execute three sales on the evening of May 12 with stunning results including the five-person bid over a star piece, Claude Monet’s Le Bassin aux nymphéas.

While limited clients were allowed to appear in person at the house’s New York salesroom, those who did were treated to a cunning redesign made just for the occasion by the Hamilton set designer David Korins. The event was attended by participants from forty-three countries and the Livestream had 1.7 million views from across the globe.

Courtesy Sotheby's.

Sotheby's New York salesroom, designed by Hamilton set designer David Korins.

The sale of this large-scale Water Lilies painting, which measures forty by seventy-nine inches, pales in comparison to the artist’s current record at auction—$110 million for Meules in 2019. Even so, Sotheby’s Worldwide Head of Impressionist & Modern Art Helena Newman stated, “Tonight’s sale is a resounding vote of confidence in the Impressionist & Modern art market, with strong global demand for the roll call of great names we were able to present.” Auction records were set for just under a dozen other artists including Jeff Koons (Painting), Leonor Fini, and Childe Hassam.

Courtesy Sotheby's.

Claude Monet, Le Bassin aux Nymphéas, c. 1917-19.

Painted in 1917-19, Monet’s monumental canvas represents a key midpoint in art history between Impressionism and Abstract Expressionism as well as a significant shift in the artist’s work. The artist’s rendering of water and reflection is filled with emotion and the size of this and other canvases are double that of his early series of Water Lilies paintings.

Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale remains open online for bidding through May 14.

About the Author

Anna Claire Mauney

Anna Claire Mauney is the former managing editor for Art & Object. A writer and artist living in North Carolina, she is interested in illustration, the 18th-century, and viceregal South America. She is also the co-host of An Obsessive Nature, a podcast about writing and pop culture.

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