At its May Impressionist and modern art evening sale in New York, Sotheby’s will offer Claude Monet’s Meules (1890), one of the artist’s classic haystacks, with estimate of over $55 million.
Monet made 25 paintings of haystacks, according to Sotheby’s, and only remain in private collections. (Seventeen are in museum collections, with six of those residing at the Art Institute of Chicago.)
August Uribe, head of Sotheby’s Impressionist and modern art department, said in a release, “One of the most recognizable images in art history, Monet’s ‘Haystacks’ series has long served as an inspiration to countless artists since its creation in the early 1890s, and continues to inspire anyone who has viewed one of these canvases first hand.”
Meules specifically has not been on view since it last appeared at auction in 1986, for $2.53 million, and its provenance adds to the allure. Chicago-based collectors Mr. and Mrs. Potter Palmer originally bought it directly from the artist’s dealer, Paul Durand-Ruel, in the 1890s, taking a space in their lauded collection of Impressionist works for decades.
A little over two years ago, another haystack work once owned by the Potters, Meuele (1891), went for $81.4 million at Christie’s New York. The record for a Monet at auction is currently $84.7 million, which was set for Nymphéas en fleur (ca. 1914–17) last year at the Peggy and David Rockefeller Collection evening sale at Christie’s in New York.
Brooke Lampley, vice chairman of Sotheby’s fine art division, said in a release, “It is a thrill to be offering a Meule that is not only distinguished among those remaining in private hands, but also easily ranks among the best in the entire series.”