The volume of Picasso material on the market in the next two weeks has gotten all of the pre-sales attention—and with good reason. But the other perennial market leader, Claude Monet, is also having a big week or two in New York. Since the London sales cycle put up a solid ~$35m in sales for the Impressionist master, the combination of the Rockefeller's taste for Monet and the market's affection for the artist has brought another ~$125m in paintings to the auction block.
Our friends at Athena Art Finance ran some numbers for us looking back over the last 12 years of sales to show Monet's market share along with the rise and fall of his market volume. Before we get to those, it is important to remember that unlike some of the modern masters or works by Cezanne and Gauguin sold on the private market, Monet's top prices have somewhat lagged. It took nearly a decade for a work to outsell Monet's previous record price. Even at that, it barely nudged the top price for the artist above the previous $80m mark.
At the height of the previous market, in the Summer of 2008, a Nymphéas long held in a Midwest collection made $80m when an advisor known to work with Russian Oligarchs bought it for twice the previous record set the previous month in New York. Since that time, there have been a number of works sold at prices in between those to reference points. Nonetheless, it has been hard for Monet to set a new top price.
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