A trio of Claude Monet works is set to highlight Sotheby's Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale on November 4 in New York, with Alice Hoschede au jardin expected to lead.
The three paintings are expected to realise a total of $60m, with Monet's depiction of his mistress estimated at $25m-35m. All three come from a private American collection.
"It truly is the ultimate trophy painting: dappled sunshine, lovely garden and a pretty woman in a white dress, it's got everything you would want in a Monet," said Sotheby's senior director of impressionist and modern art, Phillip Hook, to the Guardian newspaper.
The auction record for Monet's work is held by the seminal Le Bassin Aux Nympheas, which made £40.9m ($80.5m) at Christie's London in 2008.
The present work was painted in 1881, when Monet's love affair with Alice - the wife of his patron and close friend Ernst Hoschede - was about to be revealed. Monet and his wife shared a house with the Hoschedes and, when Monet's wife died in 1879, Alice took on duties for both men, leading to the relationship.
Ernst Hoschede later left the home, stating that his children belonged to the artist. He died in 1891, and Monet and Alice Hoschede married soon after, remaining together until her death in 1911.
Sous les peupliers will follow, valued at $12m-18m. It is described as one of the finest evocations of the French countryside the artist painted in the 1880s, and was once part of the collection of Mr and Mrs Potter Palmer, who acquired 33 paintings by Monet between 1891 and 1893.
Their collection is among those detailed in Philip Hook's new book The Ultimate Trophy: How the Impressionist Painting Conquered the World.
The third painting is Monet's Eglise de Vernon, Soleil, an 1894 work that is considered the pinnacle of his series depicting the town of Vernon, France. It is expected to sell for $7m-9m.
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