Monet Water Lilies Painting Sells For £32m
A Claude Monet painting of water lilies has sold for almost £32m, the second highest price ever paid for the French artist at auction.
The bidding for the work, painted in a square format in 1906, went on for some 10 minutes at the packed Sotheby's auction house in central London.
In its final stages the price went up by £250,000 increments until reaching the final all-in price of £31.7m, which included a buyer's premium.
Sotheby's senior director of impressionist and modern art Philip Hook believes the painting reached that price due to Asian competition.
"I think that the future is very bright for the market as more and more new buyers from the emerging markets take part in the sales. Every sale we notice more," he said.
The same work, which Sotheby's said had set a record for Monet water lilies in a square format, had been offered in 2010 and failed to reach its reserve price.
Helena Newman, co-chairman of Sotheby's impressionist and modern art department, attributed the success of the sale this time to "the fact that the estimate seemed to be more realistic," although it was still a huge sum of money.
The auction of 46 modern and impressionist works brought in just under £122m.
The other top-priced painting was a Piet Mondrian 1927 Composition with Red, Blue and Grey, which sold for £15.2m, less than the house's top estimate of £18m.
Most of the works on offer, which included paintings by Sisley, Picasso, Manet and Kandinsky, sold at close to the top end of the pre-auction estimates and sometimes above.