A painting from Claude Monet's series on London's House of Parliament has sold at auction for $20.1 million to Lebanese financier Samir Traboulsi in the first night of the annual round of New York auctions.
"London, the Parliament, Effects of Sun in the Fog," painted in 1904, was expected to attract between $12million and $18 million. The painting depicts orange and red light piercing London's fog. It had been in the family of Monet's dealer, Paul Durand-Ruel, for 100 years, reports New York Daily News.
According to Washington Post, David Norman, Sotheby's co-chairman of impressionist and modern art, said the auction house was happy to own the work. "We knew full well when we guaranteed it that we might own it," he said after the sale. Guarantees are confidential minimum payments promised to the consignor regardless of whether a work sells; they have become increasingly common practice in recent seasons.
"We can be patient," Norman added, noting that the Modigliani that went for more than $31 million couldn't even attract $600,000 when it was offered in 1979-1980. "This work's time will come, too," he said. Another record fell Thursday when Henry Moore's large-scale "Three-Piece Reclining Figure: Draped" sold for $8.4 million, the most ever for one of his sculptures. And the only version in private hands of Constantin Brancusi's famous limestone piece "The Kiss" went for $8.97 million.