Monet painting owned by Huguette Clark sells for $27 million

Claude Monet's "Nympheas", painted in 1907, on display during an auction preview at Christie's in New York.
(Stan Honda/ AFP/Getty Images)

A Claude Monet painting depicting water lilies that belonged to the late reclusive philanthropist Huguette Clark sold for $27 million at a New York auction on Tuesday. The 1907 painting, titled “Nympheas,” was sold at a Christie’s auction to an unidentified private buyer from Asia.

The painting sold for $24 million, plus a $3-million buyer’s premium, falling short of the auction house’s estimate of $25 million to $35 million.

Clark, who died in 2011 at the age of 104, was the daughter of billionaire copper magnate and U.S. Sen. W.A. Clarke. Her death was followed by a complex legal battle as relatives and close associates squared off over her will.

A settlement was reached last year to divvy up Clark’s estate, which was estimated to be worth $300 million. Clark spent her final years living in virtual isolation in New York while her mansions remained unoccupied.


Clark was a benefactor of the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington and the Monet sale was expected to benefit the financially challenged organization. But the Washington Post reported that under the settlement the Corcoran would get money only if the painting sold for more than $25 million.

The Corcoran has been in the national spotlight since it an announcement in February that the venerated organization was in talks to be acquired by the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University.

Tuesday’s auction of 53 individual works of art brought in a total of $285.9 million. Picasso’s “Portrait de femme (Dora Maar)” sold for $22.6 million; the painting was from the collection of Viktor and Marianne Langen.

A Modigliani painting, “Jeune homme roux assis,” sold for $17.6 million, and a Kandinsky work titled “Strandszene” went for $17.2 million.