Claude Monet (1840-1926) Les Peupliers oil on canvas 45¾ x 28½ in. (116.2 x 72.2 cm.) Painted in 1891 Price Realized: $22,482,500


New York, 4 May 2011 — Christie’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale achieved $155,995,500 (£93,597,300/€104,516,985), demonstrating the continuing appeal of this category among collectors worldwide. Three works sold for over the US$20 million mark, and two new artist records were set for the Fauve artist Maurice de Vlaminck and the neo-Impressionist artist Maximilien Luce. In total, sell-through percentages were strong, with 82% sold by lot and 81% by value.

The top lot of the sale week for any auction house was Claude Monet’s Les Peupliers, one of the most celebrated of the artist’s great series of works from his years in Giverny. Painted en plein air during the summer of 1891, the work is the largest of the artist’s paintings devoted to a picturesque arrangement of poplar trees. Offered in pristine condition from an important private collection, the painting sold for $22,482,500 (£13,489,500/€15,063,275) to a private American collector. The painting was last sold at Christie’s in 2000 for $7 million – a three-fold increase in value just over 10 years.

“The results demonstrate the lasting appeal of great works in the global marketplace. Masterpiece-quality works performed very well, as did Modernist and Surrealist works from important private collections. It was fascinating to see this marked increase in value play out across multiple genres tonight, from Monet’s Poplars, to the record-breaking Vlaminck landscape, which sold for $6.8 million in 1994 and went on to achieve more than 22.5 million in our saleroom tonight,” said Marc Porter, Chairman of Christie’s Americas.

In addition to the top-selling lots by Monet and Vlaminck, Pablo Picasso’s Les femmes d’Alger, version L, from the artist’s groundbreaking 1955 series of 15 paintings, fetched $21,362,500 (£12,817,500/€14,312,875). Maintained in a private collection for over 50 years, the painting sold to an anonymous bidder.

In total, three lots above $20 million, and four lots above $10 million, and 19 lots sold above $1 million. Buyers (by lot / by origin) were 47% European, 36% American, 4% Asian and 13% other. Eleven different countries were represented, with 70 clients bidding by phone.

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 About Christie’s  

Christie’s, the world’s leading art business had global auction and private sales in 2010 that totaled £3.3 billion/$5.0 billion.  Christie’s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service and expertise, as well as international glamour. Founded in 1766 by James Christie, Christie’s conducted the greatest auctions of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, and today remains a popular showcase for the unique and the beautiful. Christie’s offers over 450 sales annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectibles, wine, and more. Prices range from $200 to over $100 million.  Christie’s has 53 offices in 32 countries and 10 salerooms around the world including in London, New York, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Amsterdam, Dubai and Hong Kong.  More recently, Christie’s has led the market with expanded initiatives in emerging and new markets such as Russia, China, India and the United Arab Emirates, with successful sales and exhibitions in Beijing, Mumbai and Dubai.

*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium

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