Monet painting fetches $80 million at London auction

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LONDON (AP) -- A water lily painting by Claude Monet sold for more than $80 million Tuesday, breaking the auction record for the French impressionist artist, Christie's said.

''Le bassin aux nympheas,'' or ''Water Lily Pond,'' which sold for $80,451,178, was part of a four-work collection of water lily paintings that Monet put up for sale during his lifetime.


The four large-scale paintings of Monet's water lily garden were signed and dated by the artist in 1919. One of the other paintings is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, while another was sold at auction in 1992 for $12.1 million and is in a private collection. The final painting in the series was cut into two before World War II.

''After a thrilling bidding battle between a number of clients in the room and on the telephones, the painting eventually sold to an anonymous collector for 41 million (British pounds), setting a new world record price for the artist at auction,'' said Olivier Camu, Christie's director of impressionist art.

The previous record for a Monet work was set in May when ''Le Pont du chemin de fer a Argenteuil'' sold for $41.4 million.

The painting sold Tuesday was purchased in a 1971 New York auction for $320,000. It has not been publicly exhibited since.

The bold brushstrokes in the painting are characteristic of Monet's later works, especially his ''Grandes decorations,'' a 22-panel work of water lily paintings that was installed in Musee de l'Orangerie in Paris five months after Monet's death in 1926.

Monet created his water garden in Giverny, France by rerouting a river. He selected different hybrids of water lilies in an effort to get as many different colored flowers as possible, deliberately creating the garden as a motif for his paintings.

Tuesday's auction begins a week of major modern-art sales at Christie's and its rival Sotheby's, as the international market continues to set records despite global economic troubles.

The Christie's auction also features a rare pastel work by French impressionist Edgar Degas showing two ballet dancers. It is expected to fetch $8 million to $12 million.


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I like this painting :D

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