Monet painting of waterlilies sells for $54 million at auction

A Claude Monet painting titled "Nympheas," which dates from 1906, was sold at an auction in London for $54 million.
(Andrew Cowie / AFP / Getty Images)

A waterlilies painting by Claude Monet sold for $54 million at a Sotheby’s auction in London this week, the second-highest amount at auction for a work by the French Impressionist.

The painting, titled “Nymphéas,” dates from 1906 and was purchased Monday by an anonymous buyer. The work, which is one of several Monet paintings devoted to waterlilies, exceeded estimates that it would sell for between $34 million and $51 million.

The work is expected to go on public display as part of the upcoming exhibition “Painting the Modern Garden: From Monet to Matisse,” at the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Royal Academy of Arts, London, starting in 2015.


According to published reports, bidding for the Monet painting was somewhat heated, with bidders from Asia and Europe.

In 2008, another waterlilies painting by Monet dating from 1919 sold for a record $80.4 million at a Christie’s auction in London.

Monday’s auction saw about $208 million in sales of Modern and Impressionist works of art. The auction featured works by Pablo Picasso as well as pieces by Edvard Munch and Alberto Giacometti.

A work by Piet Mondrian, titled “Composition With Red, Blue and Grey,” sold for $25.9 million. The piece, which dates from 1927 and was last sold in 1959, fell short of the auction house’s high-end estimate of about $31 million.

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