Nahmad Family Monet Tops Sotheby's Near-$200 Million Sale Series

"Le Palais Contarini," a 1908 oil-on-canvas by Claude Monet sold for 19.7 million pounds (about $30.8 million) at Sotheby's.
"Le Palais Contarini," a 1908 oil-on-canvas by Claude Monet sold for 19.7 million pounds (about $30.8 million) at Sotheby's.

Sotheby’s London Impressionist & Modern Art summer sales series concluded on June 20 with a combined total of £127,557,000 / $199,325,581 (estimated total: £99.8 - £140.8m).

The top lot of the $165 million evening sale was Claude Monet’s 1908 view of Venice, Le Palais Contarini, which sold after a tense four-way bidding battle for £19,682,500 / $30,828,700.

The Monet came from the collection of the Nahmad family art dealing dynasty. They had bought it at auction in 1996 for $4.2 million. One family member who was not in attendance at the sale, "Helly" Nahmad, was charged in April by federal prosecutors for his role in a high-stakes gambling and money laundering ring. He denies the charges.

Among the other highlights, Vincent Van Gogh’s, Water Mill at Opwetten, sold for six times its pre-sale estimate for £1,314,500 (est.£200,000-300,000).
Two classic impressionist works by Henri Le Sidaner, Les Barques (est. £180,000-250,000) and Les Vielles Maisons, Qiumperlé (£250,000-350,000) also outstripped their pre-sale estimates to sell for £482,500 and £386,500 respectively.
One of Piet Mondrian’s signature works of 1927, “Composition With Red, Yellow and Blue,”  fetched $14.5 million.
Sotheby's sales included a particularly strong offering of works on paper, received with much enthusiasm for a combined total of £22,460,675.
Pablo Picasso's Suite Vollard brought £2,658,500 / $4,164,009 (est. £1.4-1.8 million), a new record for a Suite Vollard by a wide margin, and a new benchmark for a series of prints by the artist at auction.
A record was set for a work on paper by Wassily Kandinsky for Ineinander which brought £1,650,500 / $2,585,178 (est. £600,000-800,000).
Earlier, Christie's leading lot was a 1909 Kandinsky that sold for $21.1 million in a 44-lot sale that totaled $100.4 million.

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