“Christie’s experts call the work “a prologue to Monet’s late career””

“Christie’s experts call the work “a prologue to Monet’s late career””


Kommersant FM columnist Dmitry Butkevich discusses what the result of the lot at the Christie’s auction in New York might be.

In May, Claude Monet’s landmark painting “Moulin de Limetz” from 1888 will be auctioned at Christie’s in New York as part of 20th Century Art Week. The painting comes from the collection of the heirs of Ethel Atha and is now kept in the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, by the way, for ten years. Now the site has decided to sell the painting at auction. It is believed that it could bring in up to $25 million.

A similar painting depicting a mill in the French commune of Limetz was sold at Sotheby’s for $25.6 million, $7 million above its high estimate.

Christie’s experts call this work “a prologue to Monet’s late career.” The amount received for this “mill” is unlikely to come close to Monet’s auction record, set at Sotheby’s back in 2019; then the painting “Haystacks” from 1890 went for $110.7 million. However, given that there are literally a couple of weeks left before the anniversary of the first Impressionist exhibition, interest in Monet’s work may be high.

Let me remind you that the very first exhibition of artists who were later called “Impressionists” took place in the Atelier Nadara on the Boulevard des Capucines from April 15 to May 15, 1874, 150 years ago.

The picture has excellent provenance. It was purchased from Claude himself by the leading marchand of the era, Paul Durand-Ruel, in 1890. For decades, the painting belonged to collector Lucien Sofar, then Durand-Ruel bought it back, and then it was sold in 1941 to Kansas City collectors Joseph and Ethel Ata. In 1986, the work was transferred under a partial bequest to the Nelson-Atkins Museum, where it has been on display since 2008.

The practice of galleries selling art from their holdings has become common in recent years as American art institutions take advantage of newly relaxed rules to regulate the process.

A Christie’s spokesman says the Monet was never owned by the Nelson-Atkins Museum itself and will now be sold to benefit the site’s “future art acquisitions.”


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