The big casualty of Christie’s sale was the Monet Nymphéas that failed to attract a single bid. Judd Tully spoke to the head of the Fondation Beyeler who exuded confidence in the face of a set-back:
a much-shopped and widely exhibited painting that remained in the dealer’s inventory for good reason and not for a lack of trying. It carried a sky-high £17-24 million pre-sale estimate, too rich for a Monet estate painting that bore the artist’s stamped signature, indicating that it was either not fully finished or that Monet was content to keep it cloistered in his studio. The piece bought in at an imaginary £15 million.
That casualty didn’t seem to bother Beyeler Foundation director Sam Keller, buttonholed moments after the flop. “I wasn’t surprised [it didn’t sell], and that’s not the picture you give away at a bargain,” he noted. “We’d only let it go when it would make a very high price. The museum can show it and it will be very valuable in five to ten years.”