A Claude Monet painting out of the public eye for decades has sold for just over US$27 million, leading the bidding at an auction of art from the estates of heiress Huguette Clark, businessman Edgar Bronfman and other major collectors.
Water Lilies, Monet's 1907 rendition of his beloved garden in Giverny, France, went to an undisclosed Asian buyer on Tuesday in the season-opening auction of impressionist and modern art at Christie's. The painting, part of Clark's collection since 1930, has not been publicly exhibited since 1926.
Christie's is selling hundreds of items from Clark's collection after a feud over her estate was settled in the autumn. The Montana copper mining heiress died at 104 in 2011. Her father, William Clark, who was a US senator, was a founder of Las Vegas.
Art from other estates, including works by Edgar Degas, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso from the collection of the late billionaire Bronfman, also changed hands. The Canadian-American, who was a former head of Seagram and longtime president of the World Jewish Congress, died late last year.
All told, Christie's sold 47 pieces on Tuesday, raising more than US$285 million.
None of the sales eclipsed the artists' auction records.
Picasso's 1942 painting of his mistress in a purple dress titled Portrait of Dora Maar and Wassily Kandinsky's 1909 abstract Beach Scene, sold for US$22.5 million and US$17.2 million, respectively. Both came from the estate of German collectors Viktor and Marianne Langen and were at auction for the first time.