No sooner does Sotheby’s release the news that it has a pile of six Monets on offer in New York this May than Christie’s counters with the information that it can compete with a House of Parliament picture from 1900 at the same top level of $45m. Colin Gleadell has the details:
A painting of London’s Houses of Parliament by the Impressionist master, Claude Monet, is expected to make as much as $45m (£30m) at auction in New York next month. Painted in 1900-1901, it is one of 19 versions of the same subject, 14 of which are in museum collections.
“Le Parlement, soleil couchant” was first acquired in 1904 by the art dealer, Paul Durand-Ruel, who is the subject of an exhibition, Inventing Impressionism, currently at the National Gallery in London. In 1989 it sold to a Japanese collector in New York for $9.9m and in 1999 was exhibited in the Royal Academy’s hugely popular Monet in the 20th century exhibition. After it was sold in New York in 2001 for $14.6m to the present owner, it was lent to the National Gallery in London, for 7 years.
Christie’s describes the seller as an anonymous “private European Collector”. Several sources in the London market, who wish to remain anonymous, believe the painting is being sold by billionaire British businessman, Sir Philip Green, or one of his companies. Green is chairman of the Arcadia group, and recently sold off one of his companies. BHS, for just £1.