Monet’s ‘Nympheas, Temps Gris 1907’ to go on auction

Claude Monet’s Nympheas, temps gris (1907, estimate: USD 20-30 million) will be a highlight of Christie’s 20/21 London to Paris sale series. It will be the artist’s second major painting to be offered in London this season. Claude Monet’s depictions of the horticultural paradise he designed and cultivated in Giverny are among his most famous works. Nympheas, temps gris is one of a small series of Nympheas painted by Monet during a period of intense creativity.
Monet used a vertical format to capture the spectacular effects of late afternoon light on his water lily pond in this painting. A long stream of light streaks across the canvas’s height, overlaid in places by clusters of lily pads. Monet masterfully captured both the reflections of light on the pond’s surface and the changing hues in its depths with this vertical format, using a variety of painterly techniques such as gestural brushstrokes, rich impasto for the flowers, and myriad layers of colour in the watery areas. As a result, this canvas is filled with a majestic visual drama that distinguishes this series from others of its ilk.
Max Carter, Head of Impressionist and Modern Art, Christie’s New York: “Monet was the greatest Impressionist, the water lilies were his outstanding achievement and the 1909 exhibition of the best of the series at Durand-Ruel was arguably the most important show in his lifetime.
‘One has never seen anything like it,’ said one critic, while another likened it to the Sistine Chapel. Nympheas, temps gris was included as one of the finest examples of the vertical format, more than half of which are in museums, and has over the years kept extraordinary company in the homes of Henri Canonne and the Onassis family. What an honour to offer this beautiful painting and to tell its story in London this June.”
Keith Gill, Head of Impressionist and Modern Art, Christie’s London: “To capture the fleeting moment was Monet’s lifelong pursuit and the lily pond allowed him to experiment with the transitory effects of light on the surface of the water. By altering his viewpoint, and using the highly successful vertical format, he was not only able to portray the reflections but could also represent the changes taking place below the surface, resulting in powerfully abstract paintings that would go on to influence the generations of artists who followed. We are hugely honoured to present Nympheas, temps gris, an example of this exceptionally rare format that Monet only utilised on 14 other occasions in his oeuvre within his career-defining water lily series.”
Eight of the 15 vertical Nympheas from 1907 are now in museum collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Artizon Museum, Tokyo. This work has a distinguished provenance, having been purchased by Henri Canonne, a Parisian pharmaceutical magnate and ardent Monet collector. Canonne amassed a notable collection of 15 Nympheas, in addition to other significant works by the artist.
Nympheas, temps gris will be on view in New York from 10 to 14 June before being exhibited in London from 22 to 28 June 2022. (IANSlife)

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