Big Money for Monet at Record-Shattering Auction

French artist's painting goes for $110.7M, a world record for impressionist art
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 15, 2019 6:01 AM CDT

(Newser) – Like a fine wine, this Claude Monet piece just got better with age. Or more valuable, at any rate: An 1890 oil painting from the French artist's "Haystacks" (or "Meules") series sold Tuesday at Sotheby's for $110.7 million—the first time an impressionist painting ever surpassed a $100 million price tag at auction, per the BBC. A Sotheby's release says it was also the ninth most expensive artwork ever sold, and 44 times the $2.5 million it went for the last time it was auctioned in 1986.

"It was a fantastic night for classic impressionist art," August Uribe, head of Sotheby's impressionist and modern art department, notes. At the end of the 19th century, Monet created 25 paintings in this series, which showed a sliver of his pastoral-like life in Normandy, with stacks of what's believed to be harvested wheat figuring prominently. The anonymous buyer beat out five other bidders; CNN reports it took just eight minutes to get to the winning bid. Previously, the most expensive Monet ever sold was "Nympheas en Fleur" ("Water Lilies in Bloom"), which went for $84.7 million exactly a year ago. (This guy got five years behind bars for punching a Monet.)

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