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Claude Monet Leads Christie's $640.8m '20th Century Evening Sale' in New York

3 min read  · 10 Nov 2023

Le bassin aux nymphéas by Claude Monet sold for $74.01m. Image courtesy of Christie's

A work by Claude Monet, which had a guarantee, was the headline sale at Christie's '20th Century Evening Sale' on November 9 in New York.

  • The sale totaled $640.8m, exceeding the pre-sale high estimate.

Snapshot of the sale

  • 61 works sold totaling $640.8m.

  • Estimates totaled: $428.2m (low) and $$577.45 (high), excluding premiums.

  • The sell-through rate was 94% of the original 65 lots announced.

The star lot was: Claude Monet, Le bassin aux nymphéas (1917), which sold for $74.01m. Estimates were undisclosed. The work was backed by a guarantee. It has been traded 6 times in the past.

The outperformer sold for 600% above its low estimate. Egon Schiele, Ich liebe Gegensätze (1912), sold for $10.99m ($1.5m low estimate). It has been traded 7 times in the past.

A talking point was Joan Mitchell Untitled (1959), which sold for $29.16m, 16% above its $25m low estimate, an auction record for the artist. The work was backed by a guarantee. It has been traded once in the past.

Breakdown of results against auction house estimates that are disclosed

  • 25 works, or 42%, sold above their high estimate.

  • 25 works, or 42%, sold within their low and high estimate.

  • 9 works, or 15%, sold below their low estimate.

  • 2 sold with undisclosed estimates.

Guaranteed sales

30 works were backed by guarantees, including: Francis Bacon, Figure in Movement (1976). It sold for $52.16m, 4% above its $50m low estimate. It has been traded twice in the past.

Works that did not sell

2 works were bought-in, including: Paul Signac, Portrieux, Tertre Denis (Opus no. 189) (1888), estimated at $15m (low) to $25m (high). It has been traded 3 times in the past.

Withdrawn before the sale

2 works were withdrawn, including: Ed Ruscha, Norm's La Cienega Sinking into the Petrochemical Swamp (2006), estimated at $3m (low) to $5m (high). It was backed by a guarantee. Acquired from the artist, it has not been traded in the past.

Terms and definitions

All results include the fees and premiums added to the price of a work of art when the auctioneer's hammer falls. Sale prices are compared to the auction house’s low estimate, which do not include premiums.

Guarantees: Sometimes an auction house guarantees to pay a seller for a work, regardless of whether the bidding reaches the reserve price, a figure that is typically confidential.

Bought-in: If there are no bids for a work, or if bidding falls short of the reserve price, the lot is unsold or “bought-in”.

Withdrawn: This happens when a seller decides, for whatever reason, to withdraw a work before the bidding begins.

Premiums: Typically a sliding-scale of charges paid in addition to the hammer price by the buyer, plus any other fees.


Claude Monet

New York