Long-Unseen ‘Water Lilies’ Painting by Monet Sells for $74 Million


Long Unseen Monet “Water Lilies” Series Painting Sells at Christies

Claude Monet (1840–1926), “Le bassin aux nymphéas,” c. 1917–1919. (Photo:

Claude Monet's dreamy paintings of water lilies are some of the most recognizable works of art ever created. The series Water Lilies depicts scenes from Monet's garden and pond at Giverny in France, rendered in expressive blends of blues, greens, and purples. However, while many can be viewed in Paris's Musée de l'Orangerie, others are less well known. In an exciting recent auction at Christie's, a Monet which had been held in a private collection for 50 years came to light, selling for an impressive $74,010,000. Known as Le bassin aux nymphéas or Water lily pond, the work was painted between 1917–1919, and “hails from an important period of renewal and experimentation in Monet’s painterly visions of the lily-pond,” according to the auction house.

This work was created in Giverny, depicting that iconic pond. It bears all the hallmarks of Monet's groundbreaking Impressionist style, which was influential on his contemporaries like Alfred Sisley and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Monet's work came to define the genre as it played with light and color. The style was rendered especially impressive on the large mural canvases Monet preferred to use later in life for documenting his beloved pond.

The new water lily painting's exciting emergence after five decades provides another glimpse into the private world of the artist a hundred years ago. It sold alongside works by Pablo Picasso, Paul Cézanne, Arshile Gorky, Frida Kahlo, and Vincent Van Gogh—altogether, these masterpieces amounted to a total of $640,846,000 in sales at The 20th Century Evening Sale. Who knows if other masterpieces from private collections will emerge sometime soon, and what they will reveal about these great artists' legacy.

A painting by Claude Monet as part of his Water Lilies series, which has been unseen by the public for over 50 years, recently sold at Christie's for $74 million.

Long Unseen Monet “Water Lilies” Series Painting Sells at Christies

The 20th Century Evening Sale on Thursday, November 9, 2023. (Photo:

h/t: [CNN]

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Madeleine Muzdakis

Madeleine Muzdakis is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and a historian of early modern Britain & the Atlantic world. She holds a BA in History and Mathematics from Brown University and an MA in European & Russian Studies from Yale University. Madeleine has worked in archives and museums for years with a particular focus on photography and arts education. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys hiking, film photography, and studying law while cuddling with her cat Georgia.
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