Claude Monet's 'Meules' sells for $110.7 million at auction

One of the artist's most notable paintings sparked a bidding war at a Sotheby's event in New York

epa07544875 The 1890 painting 'Meules' by Claude Monet, estimated to sell for over 55 million USD, is on display during a preview of upcoming 'Impressionist and Modern Art' and 'Contemporary Art' auctions at Sotheby's in New York, New York, USA, 03 May 2019. The auctions take place in the middle of May.  EPA/JUSTIN LANE
Powered by automated translation

In just over eight minutes of heated competition between six bidders, Claude Monet's 1891 painting, Meules, which forms part of the artist's Haystacks series, sold at auction for a whopping $110.7 million (Dh406.5m) on Tuesday.

The sale, which took place at Sotheby's in New York, sets a new record for a work by the artist, outdoing the previous benchmark by $26m, and it's the first work of Impressionist art to sell for more than $100m at auction.

The longer you spend buying it, the longer you'll spend enjoying it.

Six bidders, both at the auction and over the phone, battled it out for the masterpiece. The winner has yet to be identified, but we do know the final price ended up being 44 times the price that which it went for when last sold at an auction in 1986.

It was a tense few minutes; at some points it looked like it was all over, but the auctioneer – Harry Dalmeny, who is also chairman of Sotheby's UK – managed to coax more confidence out of the bidders. "The longer you spend buying it, the longer you'll spend enjoying it," he joked.

Watch the full bidding war here:

The painting is one of 25 Monet made between 1890 and 1891 in fields near his home in Giverny, France, and had not been seen on the market since the previous auction in the '80s, when it sold for $2.5m. It's part of his series called Haystacks, in which he played with light and atmosphere to depict different times of the day over various seasons.

Now only seven are left in the hands of private individuals, with the rest part of museum collections across the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Musee d'Orsay in Paris.

In total, Sotheby's Impressionist and Modern Art evening sale brought in $350m, as 56 works from some of the greatest artistic masters of the 19th and 20th century went under the hammer.

The sale of Pablo Picasso's Femme au Chien (Woman With Dog) brought with it another tense moment: a bidding war resulted in a final price of $54,936,000, a record high for a 1960s-era Picasso work.