Nympheas, a work from Claude Monet's renowned water lilies series, has sold as top lot in the long-awaited Impressionist and Modern Art auction at Christie's.
The piece sold for $43.7m in New York on November 7, sitting comfortably within its $30-50m estimate to become the second most valuable Monet ever sold at auction. The record price is held by 1919's Le Bassin aux nympheas which sold for $80.4 at Christie's in 2008.
Nympheas topped the $41.5m price achieved by The Railway Bridge at Argenteuil, which was also achieved at Christie's in 2008.
Nympheas is regarded as one of the finest of all the lily works that Monet created. It is one of 250 paintings of the garden at his home in Giverny and one of 60 lily paintings realised between 1905 and 1908. It demonstrates a move away from the traditional landscapes that the artist usually painted, showing a more abstract view of his beloved lilies.
"The sheer beauty of the paintings in the Nympheas series make us forget that in 1905, these works were a radical departure from all traditional notions of landscape painting," commented Christie's Brooke Lampley.
"Monet had traded his ordered views of the lily pond and its distant banks for close-up, destabilised depictions of the water surface itself. This daring move established Monet beyond any doubt as the most innovative landscape painter of his day."
Those looking to join the thriving market for the artist should view our autographed letter, which is handwritten on headed paper from his Giverny home.
More excellent results at Christie's were seen by Kandinsky's Studie fur Improvisation 8, which set a new world record for the artist at auction.