Monet’s US.4 million oil painting could set new Western art auction record in mainland China | Auctions News | THE VALUE

Monet’s US$20.4 million oil painting could set new Western art auction record in mainland China | Auctions News | THE VALUE

Five paintings by world-renowned Masters will feature in an upcoming Beijing auction.

Monet, Picasso, Pissarro and Cezanne’s masterpieces will be sold at China Guardian’s first Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale on 19 November.

In the Asian art market, the appetite for Western Modern and Contemporary Art masterpieces in recent years have proliferated in Hong Kong – setting record prices in auction sales. This trend could gradually grow northwards into mainland China.  

In 2015, Monet’s Bassin aux nympheas, les rosiers was sold for US$20.4 million dollars in New York. Its appearance in Beijing’s upcoming auction could see a record-breaking sale of Western art in mainland China.    

Claude Monet | Bassin aux nympheas, les rosiers, Oil on canvas

Created in 1913

73 x 100 cm

Provenance (Amended by The Value):

  • Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris (acquired from the artist on January 23, 1919)
  • Durand-Ruel Galleries, New York (acquired from the above in 1919 and until at least 1949)
  • Private Collection, Switzerland (acquired circa 1970)
  • Baron Chollet, Switzerland (by descent from the above)
  • Thomas Gibson, London (possibly on consignment)
  • Acquired from the above by the present owner on March 12, 1991
  • Sotheby’s New York, Impressionism and Modern Art Evening Sale (May 5, 2015), Lot 47, Sold at US$20.4 million
  • Private Collection (acquired from the above sale)

Estimate upon request

NB: This item is held under the bonded status

Importance

China Guardian held the Impressionist Masters Promotion Exhibition during this year’s spring season, and showcased Western paintings to collectors. Most of the paintings in the exhibition were not auctioned. German abstract artist Richter’s Columns painting (1968) was sold at US$12.5 million dollars, which set a record for Western art in mainland China.

This Bassin aux nympheas, les rosiers painting was auctioned at Sotheby’s New York in 2015. It was sold at US$20.4 million dollars with buyer’s premium.

Although China Guardian has not announced the estimate for Monet’s water lilies painting, its estimate is expected to be similar to its sale in 2015. This means that if the painting is sold, an auction record for Western art in mainland China can be realised. 

Richter’s Columns (1968) is the current record holder of Western art sold in mainland China 

Bottom left section of Monet’s Bassin aux nympheas, les rosiers painting

Central section of Monet’s Bassin aux nympheas, les rosiers painting

Iconography

Monet’s water lilies painting was created in 1913, and represents the artist at the height of his mature style.

He depicted his gardens in Giverny, northwest of Paris. It was one of the artist’s most personal and celebrated subjects. It was also one of three canvases Monet painted from this particular vantage point, which looks out onto an arched trellis covered in tumbling red and pink roses reflected in the water.

Another work from this tripart series, Les Arceaux Fleuris, Giverny, is in the permanent collection of the Phoenix Art Museum, Arizona. Through Monet’s energetic yet intimate portrayal of flora, water, sky, and light, one is immersed in this landscape, filled with a sense of tranquility on a summer’s day in northern France.

Monet was inspired by his Giverny Gardens during his later years

View of Giverny Gardens

Monet’s Les Arceaux Fleuris, Giverny is part of Phoenix Art Museum’s Collection


Claude Monet | L’Escalier, Oil on canvas

Created in 1878

61 x 50 cm

Provenance:

  • Catholina Lambert, Paterson, New Jersey
  • Durand-Ruel Galleries, New York (acquired from the above, 16 May 1895, and until 1949)
  • Private collection, Switzerland (by 1959); sale, Christie’s, London, 28 November 1994, Lot 8
  • Edgar M. Bronfman, New York (acquired at the above sale)
  • Christie’s New York, Impressionism and Modern Art Evening Sale (May 6 2014), Lot 19, Sold at US$3.5 million
  • Private Collection (acquired from the above sale)

Estimate: US$3,880,000 – 5,430,000

NB: This item is held under the bonded status

Importance

In 2014, L’Escalier was sold at Christie’s New York. Its estimate was US$1.5 to 2.5 million dollars, and was sold at US$3.5 million dollars.  

In this upcoming Evening Sale held by China Guardian, the low estimate is US$3.8 million dollars. It is essentially the same cost when it was sold in New York seven years ago, which is possibly a strategy to attract more mainland collectors into purchasing Impressionist and Modern Art.  

Iconography

Monet painted L’Escalier during the very first months that he spent at Vetheuil, northwest of Paris. He and his family lived from August 1878 until December 1881. This was a decisive moment of personal and professional transformation for the artist.

Following his move to Vetheuil, Monet entirely abandoned modern urban scenes that dominated his earlier paintings. Instead, he began to focus on capturing aspects of nature, and employed a new technique that laid the foundation for his important later production.


Pablo Picasso | Tete de femme au chapeau, Oil on canvas

Created in 1965

60 x 50 cm

Provenance:

  • Galerie Louise Leiris (Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler), Paris
  • Kootz Gallery, New York
  • Spanierman Gallery, LLC, New York
  • Acquired by the previous owner, 17 February 2004
  • Christie’s New York, Impressionism and Modern Art Evening Sale (November 5, 2013), Lot 34
  • Private Collection (acquired from the above sale)

Estimate: US$3,100,000 – 4,650,000

NB: This item is held under the bonded status

Earlier in October, Picasso’s Femme Accroupie (1954) painting fetched US$24.6 million dollars in Sotheby’s Hong Kong. It became the highest ever price for a Picasso artwork in Asia.

In this upcoming sale in Beijing, Picasso’s Tete de femme au chapeau also has the same protagonist. Both paintings depict Jacqueline Roque, Picasso’s last lover and wife. Jacqueline became the most frequent and longest-running subject in Picasso’s career, featuring in more than 400 portraits exceeding any of her husband’s previous lovers such as Francoise Gilot and Marie-Therese Walter.

Picasso’s fascination with women’s headwear can be traced back to the 1930s, when he took it as a representation of a woman’s inner thoughts. In Tete de femme au chapeau, the golden hat stands out against a vivid blue background. The wide soft brim blocking the summer heat and casting a shadow on Jacqueline’s face, implying a relaxed and joyful moment in the south of France.

Picasso’s Femme Accroupie (1954) was the highest ever price for a Picasso artwork in Asia

Pablo and Jacqueline


Camille Pissarro | Le Lavoir de Bazincourt, Oil on canvas

Created in 1884

65 x 54 cm

Provenance:

  • Galerie Durand-Ruel et Cie., Paris (acquired from the artist on October 31, 1884)
  • Frederic Mallet, Paris (acquired from the above on January 25, 1919)
  • Galerie Georges Petit Paris (May 20, 1920, lot 103) Galerie Bernheim-Jeune et Cie., Paris (c. December 1927)
  • George Boner, Paris (c. 1938)
  • Yvonne Boveri-Boner, Switzerland (acquired by descent)
  • Private Collection, USA (acquired by descent)
  • Christie’s New York, Impressionism and Modern Art Evening Sale (May 6, 2014), Lot 54, Sold at US$2.51 million
  • Private Collection (acquired from the above sale)

Estimate: US$2,800,000 – 4,350,000

NB: This item is held under the bonded status


Paul Cezanne | Portrait, Oil on canvas

Created in  1866-1867

65 x 54 cm

Provenance:

  • Ambroise Vollard, Paris
  • Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Paris
  • Auguste Pellerin, Paris, by whom acquired from the above on 6 December 1910
  • Jean-Victor Pellerin, Paris, by descent from the above
  • Acquired from the above by the present owner
  • Christie’s London, Impressionism and Modern Art Evening Sale (2 February 2016), Lot 46, Sold at around US$1.6 million
  • Private Collection (acquired from the above sale)

Estimate: US$1,700,000 – 2,800,000

NB: This item is held under the bonded status


Auction Details:

Auction House: China Guardian Beijing

Sale: Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale

Location: Guardian Art Centre, Wangfujing Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing   

Date and Time: 19 November 2021 | 8pm (Beijing local time)  

Number of lots: 5