Monet painting fetches record $151m

The sale at Sotheby's on Tuesday of this Claude Monet painting, from his celebrated Meules (Haystacks) series, fetched one of the 10 highest auction prices.
The sale at Sotheby's on Tuesday of this Claude Monet painting, from his celebrated Meules (Haystacks) series, fetched one of the 10 highest auction prices.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

NEW YORK • A Claude Monet painting from his celebrated Meules (Haystacks) series drew US$110.7 million (S$151.4 million) in New York City in an auction record for the French Impressionist master.

The sale at Sotheby's on Tuesday - the first time the work had come to auction since 1986 - fetched one of the 10 highest auction prices.

The auction house did not identify the buyer, who beat out five other bidders in the eight-minute auction.

The total, which includes fees and the commission, was more than 44 times higher than the previous record for the work.

Monet painted his 25 Meules compositions during the winter of 1890-1891 at his home in Giverny, in France's Normandy region.

In each piece, Monet showed the light and surroundings of the same scene as they changed at different times of day, with the varying seasons and during various types of weather.

Another painting from the series was sold in November 2016 by the Christie's auction house in New York for US$81.4 million.

The piece sold at Sotheby's was among the most immediately recognisable Monet paintings.

It distinguishes itself from others in the series by its vibrant paint palette, dramatic diagonal brushstrokes of varying directions that meet at the centre and a unique perspective with only part of the first haystack appearing in the foreground.

The anonymous collector who brought the painting that was auctioned on Tuesday had purchased it in 1986 at Christie's for just US$2.5 million.

The last record for a Monet painting was registered in May last year during a Christie's sale of his Nympheas en fleur (Water Lilies in Bloom) for US$84.6 million.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESS, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 16, 2019, with the headline 'Monet painting fetches record $151m'. Print Edition | Subscribe