Auction house officials are calling it a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
An original painting by Claude Monet is set to be auctioned off in Houston this week, and experts say it could fetch upwards of $40 million.
The work, “Nympheas,” is a large-scale piece from the famed French artist’s “Water Lilies” series. It’s one of only a handful of Monet paintings in private hands and has been held by the same family for nearly a century.
“It is a chance to own a Monet of this caliber maybe once in a generation,” said David J. Goodman, head of Impressionist & Modern Art at Christie’s, the auction house handling the sale.
The piece will be on public display at Christie’s New York headquarters starting Monday, before heading to Houston for a preview exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The auction is set for Wednesday.
“Nympheas” was painted in 1907 and is one of approximately 250 works in Monet’s “Water Lilies” series. The large-scale canvas measures 84 inches by 50 inches and depicts a pond in Monet’s garden at Giverny, France, according to Christie’s.
The work has been in the same private collection for 95 years and has been exhibited sparingly in that time. In fact, it hasn’t been shown publicly since 1986, when it was displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York as part of a retrospective of the artist’s work.
Goodman said the work is “the finest example” of Monet’s “Water Lilies” in private hands. He added that the piece is “fresh to the market” and that its rarity is what makes it so valuable.
“It’s a beautiful painting,” Goodman said. “It’s a quintessential Monet.”