Monet painting fetches $30.8 million in auction bidding battle


A painting by Claude Monet fetched $30.8 million at a Sotheby’s auction in London on Wednesday after a bidding battle jacked up the selling price of the work. The auction of Impressionist and Modern art brought in a total of $165.9 million.

Monet’s “Le Palais Contarini” depicts a Venetian palazzo and was created in 1908. The painting was the subject of a four-way bidding skirmish that caused the selling price to rise slightly above Sotheby’s high-end estimate of $30.2 million.

The painting belonged to the Nahmad family of art dealers, who had purchased the work for $4.2 million in 1996 at a Christie’s auction. The Nahmad family has been in the news recently following allegations that one of its scions, Helly, was involved in a gambling and money-laundering scheme.


ART: Can you guess the high price?

A number of other works managed to exceed sales expectations. A work by Piet Mondrian -- “Composition with Red, Yellow and Blue” (1927) -- beat estimates by selling for $14.5 million. The abstract work had been expected to sell for $9.2 million at the high end.

Another Monet -- a 1872 painting titled “Le Pont de Bois” -- sold for $9.6 million, beating estimates. The painting was part of the collection of the late Gustav Rau and was being sold to benefit UNICEF. A small-scale bronze statue by Camille Claudel -- the lover of Auguste Rodin who went insane -- sold for $7.9 million. The piece is titled “The Waltz, first version,” and was cast in 1893.

Sotheby’s said in a release that Wednesday’s auction saw a record number of participants from Asia for a London sale of Impressionist works.

On Tuesday, a Christie’s auction of Impressionist and Modern art brought in a total of $100.4 million. The sales are part of the London summer auction season that draws high-end collectors and museum representatives.


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