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Lefteris Pitarakis/AP
The most significant work from Monet's water-lily series, the 'Le bassin aux nympheas'
(seen here),
was sold for more than $80 million at auction Tuesday, June 24, 2008. (AP)

Monet's Water Lilies Help Keep Art Market Afloat

June 26, 2008 02:51 PM
by Sarah Amandolare
A Monet painting sold for more than $80 million, shattering records and underscoring the art market’s ability to withstand global economic crises.

30-Second Summary

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At Christie’s in London, one of French impressionist Claude Monet’s four water lily paintings has sold for more than $80 million, almost double the previous auction record for a work by the artist.

Christie’s director of impressionist art, Olivier Camu, called the sale “a thrilling bidding battle between a number of clients in the room and on the telephones.” Previously, the record for a Monet work was $41.4 million for “The Railway Bridge at Argenteuil,” which sold in May 2008.

The sale came despite recent art insider predictions that German expressionists and Italian futurists would soon replace impressionists as “titans of the auction room,” reported The Independent.

Such exorbitantly high bids are more startling in the context of global economic woes. However, some say that the art market continues to thrive in part because it provides an alternative investment opportunity.

Despite recession potential in the U.S. and Great Britain, spring 2008 has seen a few record-breaking bids on works by Indian and Asian artists.

Headline Links: Water lilies set record

Background: Art market skirts recession

Related Topics: Recent big sales

Key Player: Claude Monet

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