MoMA to Sell Off a Monet at Sotheby’s

Claude Monet, Les Peupliers à Giverny (1887).

Sotheby’s will auction off another Claude Monet canvas at the Impressionist & Modern art evening sale in London next month, and this one hails from the hallowed halls of New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Les Peupliers à Giverny (1887), one of the artist’s many depictions of the poplar trees at his Giverny home, carries a pre-sale estimate of $13.8–18.4 million, and is one of five paintings by Monet on the block at Sotheby’s on February 3.

In an e-mail to the New York Times, a museum spokesperson claimed the work was being sold because “this painting is an example of an Impressionist style that precedes the starting point of the museum’s painting collection.” The Sotheby’s catalog, which features Les Peupliers on the cover, states that the proceeds of the sale will “benefit the acquisitions fund” at MoMA.

Sotheby’s has guaranteed the sale with an irrevocable bid, which means an outside party has promised an undisclosed sum for the work, and will share in the profits if the auction exceeds that amount. The painting was previously part of the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, and has been at MoMA since 1951.

The MoMA Monet isn’t even the most highly anticipated of the artist’s works that Sotheby’s has on offer. Le Grand Canal (1908), a work from a private collection, has been on loan to London’s National Gallery for the past eight years. The scene of the Venice canal also has a third party guarantee, and is expected to sell for $30.6–$45.9 million (see Monet Venice Painting Could Top $45 Million at London Sale).

Last year’s major Sotheby’s Impressionist and modern art sales also included a number of high-profile and pricey lots by the French painter’s hand: in May, one of Monet’s paintings of water lilies, a large 1906 canvas titled Nymphéas, fetched $54 million, while the November auction in New York also headlined by the impressionist, with four paintings collectively exceeding $66.6 million (see “Monet Water Lilies Bring $54 Million at Sotheby’s in London” and “Trio of Monets Could Break $60 Million at Sotheby’s“).

Les Peupliers à GivernyLe Grand Canal, and other highlights from the sale will be on view at Sotheby’s New York from January 21–23.

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