Colin Gleadell reveals something Asian art buyers already know. That’s because Sotheby’s was showing its five Monet paintings that will appear in the February Impressionist and Modern sale in London in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Among those five paintings, with a combined estimate over $100m, was New York’s Museum of Modern Art’s Monet painting of poplars that Sotheby’s has guaranteed.
Update: Carol Vogel confirmed with Sotheby’s that the firm has an irrevocable bid. Update 2: Apparently the MoMA work was not on display in Taiwan or in Hong Kong over the weekend. Barron’s report, below, is clearly based upon a conversation with Sotheby’s specialist. Only three Monet works were shown in Taiwain.
Here’s Gleadell’s scoop:
The Museum of Modern Art in New York is to sell a ravishing painting of poplar trees by Claude Monet worth an estimated £9 to £12 million ($13.6 to $18 million) in London next month.
Painted in 1887, Les Peupliers à Giverny predates by four years a series of 24 poplar tree paintings that Monet made on the river near his home in Giverny. A similar, but larger composition from that series sold in 2011 for $22.5 million to an American collector, three times the price that it had made seven years earlier – an exceptional mark-up for an Impressionist picture. […]
In its research for this sale, Sotheby’s tells us that it has sold every Monet it has offered at auction since 2011 and that in 2014, bidding for Monet came from 19 different countries compared to just five in 2004.
But prices have not gone crazy. While the 20th-century works have gone up, the 19th century has remained stable. “It’s still possible for a dealer to buy Monet for a good value price,” says Jonathan Green of the Richard Green gallery, “but not that often”.
Meanwhile, Barron’s was in Hong Kong talking to Sotheby’s experts who are excited by the growing appetite for Impressionists among the Chinese:
Buyers in Asia focus on the “the real blue chip artists,” says James Mackie, deputy head of Sotheby’s department of impressionist and modern art, who was in Hong Kong for the exhibition, which was held at the auction house’s gallery. Although Asian buyers are beginning to look beyond star names, Monet’s works have gained attention because of his stature as a leading figure in the French impressionist movement.
“There’s been a steady growth of interest in the major names in the impressionist and modern field,” Mackie says, adding that the purchase of Van Gogh’s Still Life, Vase with Daises and Poppies “really is an example of this increasing interest in major names.”
Art Sales: Show me the Monet (Telegraph)
Sotheby’s Exhibit Leaves Impression on Asia (Barron’s)