NEW YORK – Claude Monet’s 1890 painting “Meules” from his “Haystacks” series fetched a record of more than $110 million at an auction held at Sotheby’s in New York on Tuesday.
The piece, considered to be one of the iconic Impressionist paintings, was priced by the auction house experts at some $55 million which was surpassed in a matter of seconds at Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale.
In the eight-minute long auction which included six bidders, “Meules” reached a hammer price of $97 million and ultimately was sold at $110.7 million – double the estimate – including taxes and commissions.
The $110 million sale is 44 times higher than the previous record at an auction at Christie’s, New York in 1986, and the sale value is the highest ever for any of Monet’s works.
The painting is one of the few in the “Haystacks” series by Monet to have been up for auction this century.
Out of the 25 works of art in the series, 17 are now owned by public institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Orsay Museum in Paris and the Art Institute of Chicago, while the rest remain in private hands.
“Meules” was initially acquired by the distinguished and wealthy Palmer family of Chicago directly from Monet’s representative in the 1890s.
Another of the auction’s featured works was Pablo Picasso’s “Femme au chien,” whose price was estimated to be between $25 million to $30 million, but was sold for $54.9 million after reaching a hammer price of 48 million.
Painted in 1962, the work is a portrait of his dog Kaboul and of his second wife, Jacqueline Roque, with whom he was married until his death in 1973.
Another of Picasso’s work, “Mousquetaire a la pipe” (1968) was sold for $20.7 million, including taxes and commissions.
The painting was from a series in which Picasso used the figure of a musketeer, which allowed him to move out of the limitations of subjects portrayed in the contemporary art and at the same time explore earlier times.
Joaquin Torres Garcia’s work also marked a record for his “Construccion en blanco” with a price that had been estimated between $3.5 million and $4.5 million, with the piece ultimately going for $3.4 million.
Picasso’s “Nature morte à la chaise et aux glaïeuls,” which was estimated at between $4 million and $6 million, was sold for nearly $4.6 million, while Joan Miro’s “Personnage” sculpture was bought for $5.9 million.
The biggest disappointment of the night was the six meter wide and 3.3 meter high “La Jeunesse De Bacchus,” which is considered to be one of the most important works of William Bouguereau.
The painting did not find a buyer as the bids reached only $18 million despite being worth between $25 million to $35 million, according to valuers.