Monet's The Parliament, London Fetches $20 Million
November 05, 2004 NEW YORK.
Monet's 'The Parliament, London, Effect of Sun in the Fog' (detail) which is set to become the most expensive view of London by the Impressionist artist ever sold. Christies Handout/Getty Images.
Christie’s fall sales of Impressionist and Modern Art, fetched a total of $128.2 million. A Monet oil painting fetched $20m. An anglophile at heart, Claude Monet embarked upon a monumental project when in September 1899, he rented a suite in London’s fashionable Savoy Hotel on the North Bank of the Thames with panoramic views of Waterloo Bridge and Charring Cross Bridge. In addition, he also made frequent visits to the balcony of St. Thomas’ Hospital, separated from the Houses of Parliament only by the Thames. These two locations became his pied-a-terre from 1899 till 1904 while he worked on the series of ninety-five views of the two famous Bridges and the London parliament. Londres, le Parlement, effet de soleil dans le brouillard is arguably one of the finest paintings of this fabled series and having never been on the open market since it was painted 110 years ago, it comes with a spectacular provenance. The extraordinary light effects offered by London during the winter months - Monet’s main reason for undertaking the series - are expressed in all their sublimity, the Houses of Parliament being mere specters in a city that is completely silent and timeless. Of the three series, Monet was most satisfied with the Houses of Parliament, a feeling that was shared by the public that by 1915 had acquired 17 out of the 19 paintings depicting this institution. Today, 15 out of the 19 belong to museum collections while the present painting is one of only four still in private hands.