Paddles Sway for 'Peupliers'

London -- Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art Sale last night featured 'Les Peupliers à Giverny,' one of Monet’s depictions of poplar trees in the fields at the edge of his property in Giverny.

Art collectors of Art Kabinett social media network believe this work to be one of the finest Impressionist works to come to auction in a long time.

Painted in 1887 and pictured here, it captures the sunset of early autumn. After fierce bidding, Sotheby’s sold the painting for £10.79 million.

The work was in fact one of five Monets included in this Sotheby’s sale, but this particular painting maybe of special interest due to the seller of the work -- the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which comes as a surprising twist.

The catalogue says it is being sold to “benefit the acquisitions fund.”

In an email, a spokeswoman for the museum said, “This painting is an example of an Impressionist style that precedes the starting point of the museum’s painting collection.”

Careful readers of auction catalogues noticed a symbol beside the painting’s lot number signifying that Sotheby’s has what it calls an “irrevocable bid” on the painting.

From that fact one may deduce that means that a buyer has already agreed to purchase it for an undisclosed sum but that if someone wants to pay more, the person who made that arrangement with Sotheby’s will receive a percentage of the difference between the price agreed upon and what it sells for.

Before the painting was gifted to the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1951 by the collectors William B. Jaffe and his wife, Evelyn, 'Les Peupliers à Giverny' belonged to the Art Institute of Chicago, which sold it in 1947.

All five of the Claude Monet works were sold, together totaling £55.74m / $83.76m.

Impressionist Masters

Le Grand Canal from Monet’s celebrated Venice series of 1908 led the auctions, achieving £23.67m / $35.57m. From the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and on offer for the first time at auction, Les Peupliers à Giverny fetched £10.79m / $16.21m.

Matisse’s exquisite portrait Odalisque au fauteuil noir sold for £15.83m / $23.79m, surpassing its high estimate of £12m.

The work depicts Princess Nézy-Hamidé Chawkat, the great granddaughter of the last Sultan of Turkey.

Toulouse-Lautrec’s Au Lit: Le Baiser from 1892 brought £10.79m / $16.21m -- the second-highest price for the artist at auction. The work had never been offered at auction before, and had not been exhibited publicly for more than four decades.

Top-tier pieces by Toulouse-Lautrec are exceptionally rare on the market. Only three works by the artist have ever appeared at auction estimated at this level

Today's homepage Featured Art Video provides an in-depth view of Monet's 'Les peupliers à Giverny'.