This look into the Claude Monet market over the last 11 years was prepared with data and charts from our friends at Athena Art Finance. It is available to AMMpro subscribers. Monthly subscriptions begin with the first month free. Feel free to subscribe and cancel before you are billed.
Tonight at Christie’s there will be three paintings by Claude Monet on the auction block. The top work among the four Evening sale lots at Christie’s and Sotheby’s, with a combined low estimate of £16.5m, is this landscape from early in the artist’s tenure at Giverny. The painting has never been at auction and was in the same family for the last 67 years.
The artist’s perennial popularity among collectors can be easily overlooked in the art market place. From the chart below, one can easily see that Monet’s sales place his work consistently among the top ten artists by auction volume at the three houses, according to the chart Athena Art Finance put together for us.
Although Picasso and Warhol regularly do better numbers, and other artists like Basquiat and Bacon, even Richter and Rothko, have appeared above Monet on the annual lists, the Impressionist painter is a consistent mainstay.
Let’s take out the distracting noise of the other artists and look solely at Monet as his sales totals are measured comparatively over the last 11 years. Notice the consistency of the last three years which echo the previous market peak years of 2007-2008.
More enlightening is the chart of the last 11 years sales volume and average prices. One can see that the last two years of sales were both consistent and substantially down from 2014-15. Nonetheless, the sales volume was substantially higher than any other year but the three peak years of 2008, 2014 and 2015.
That consistency over the last two years masks a fair bit of volatility. In 2016, nearly half of the total came in the form of a single sale at Christie’s when the grainstack work made more than $80m (which accounts for the peak average price achieved in that year.) Since that time, the volume has stayed the same without seeing monumental works on the market. In 2016, the top four sales ranged from $16 to two works at $23m.
That would suggest that the success of the grainstack has added value to works that might have previously struggled to reach these prices.