Les Peupliers by Claude Monet at Christie's.
Monet’s Les Peupliers will feature at Christie’s Modern Art evening sale in New York on May 4. This is one of the most celebrated of the 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, known as the “tree of liberty” in his native France.
Most of the 24 works in Claude Monet’s Poplars series are housed in major museums around the world, with the remainder in private collections. The story behind them is interesting. In 1891 Monet learned that a row of mature poplar trees near his house was to be cut down. He made a deal with the woodcutter to leave them standing long enough for him to continue painting them. This resulted in the series of paintings in differing perspectives, lights and seasons all conceived from his small floating studio on the waterway.
Estimated at US$ 20-30 million, the painting is offered from an important private collection and remains in pristine condition, in its original unvarnished and unlined state. The top price paid for a Monet at auction was $80.4 million for Le bassin aux Nympheas from 1919. It was sold at Christie’s in London in June 2008.
UPDATE: IT MADE $22,482,500