Auction  May 15, 2019  Chandra Noyes

UPDATE: Rare Monet Haystacks Painting Shatters Auction Records

Courtesy Sotheby's

Claude Monet, Meules, 1890

UPDATED 5/15/19: Monet's Meules exceeded expectations at Sotheby's Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale on Tuesday. Selling to an anonymous bidder for $110.7 million, the work doubled the pre-sale estimate, setting a new record for the artist at auction.

According to Sotheby's: "After 6 bidders competed for more than 8 minutes, Claude Monet’s Meules from 1891 became the most valuable Impressionist work of art sold at auction and the new world record for the artist. The painting achieved $110.7 million— 44 times the price it realized when it last sold at auction in 1986."

Watch the full bidding battle below.

Originally published 5/9/19: May brings a slew of exciting sales to the major auction houses. From Impressionists to Modernists and contemporary art, the month is marked by big names and even bigger numbers.

Leading Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale on May 14 is a rare masterpiece from Claude Monet’s Haystacks series. Meules (French for ‘stacks’) from 1890 is one of 25 canvasses the artist painted on the subject. Though there are many of these paintings, they are among his most prized works, and rarely come up at auction. Other works in the series are housed at some of the world’s greatest museums, including the Musee d’Orsay, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Claude Monet, Wheatstack (Snow Effect, Overcast day), 1890-91
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Claude Monet, Wheatstack (Snow Effect, Overcast day), 1890-91. Oil on canvas. Art Institute of Chicago.

Claude Monet, Wheatstack (Sun in the Mist), 1891
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Claude Monet, Wheatstack (Sun in the Mist), 1891. Oil on canvas. Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

Claude Monet, Wheatstack, 1890-91
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Claude Monet, Wheatstack, 1890-91. Oil on canvas. Art Institute of Chicago.

Claude Monet, Wheatstacks (Sunset, Snow Effect), 1890-91
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Claude Monet, Wheatstacks (Sunset, Snow Effect), 1890-91. Oil on canvas. Art Institute of Chicago.

Claude Monet, Stacks, End of Summer, 1891
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Claude Monet, Stacks, End of Summer, 1891. Oil on canvas. Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France.

Created in the early 1890s, Monet found inspiration in the fields neighboring his home in rural Giverny. The piles of harvested wheat, stacked and awaiting threshing, were seen by some as common, boring subject matter. But through Monet’s eyes they became monuments to the incredible changing effects of light and the seasons on the natural world. Painting en plein air, Monet had a rotating stash of canvasses that he would work on, changing them out depending on the time of day and weather. Now one of his most famous and valued series, Haystacks shows his keen eye for the changes of light and atmosphere, and his ability to elevate a mundane subject matter to a thing of incredible beauty.

One of only eight Haystacks canvasses still in private hands, the work is estimated to fetch $55 million at auction. The current record for the artist at auction is $84.7 million, a mark this sale could easily surpass. The auction also features a few more Monet works, as well as several late Picasso portraits, and works from Pissarro and Toulouse-Lautrec, amongst others. Stay tuned to Art & Object for coverage of these upcoming sales, which are sure to inspire fierce competition at auction.

About the Author

Chandra Noyes

Chandra Noyes is Managing Editor for Art & Object.

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