Monet's 'Haystacks' sells for $110.7M, setting an auction record

Published 15th May 2019
Monet's 'Haystacks' sells for $110.7M, setting an auction record
Written by Jack Guy, CNN
A painting from Claude Monet's "Haystacks" series has sold for $110.7 million, making it the most expensive Impressionist artwork ever to be bought at auction, according to Sotheby's in New York.
It took six bidders just eight minutes to reach a record-breaking sum for the oil painting, which went to an anonymous bidder Tuesday.
The 1890 painting is widely regarded as the best of Monet's "Meules" (Haystacks) series, the auction house said. Only four artworks from the 25-strong series have appeared at auction this century, and just eight remain in private hands.
The painting becomes the ninth most expensive ever to sell at auction.
The painting becomes the ninth most expensive ever to sell at auction. Credit: Courtesy Sotheby's via AP
"One of the most recognizable images in art history, Monet's 'Haystacks' series has long served as an inspiration to countless artists since its creation in the early 1890s," said the auction house's head of Impressionist and modern art, August Uribe, in a press release.
While the hammer price -- the highest bid -- came in just under $100 million, the addition of a buyer's premium -- the fee charged by auction houses -- took the final price to $110.7 million.
Why is art so expensive?
The painting's previous owner paid the relatively small sum of $2.5 million for the artwork in 1986, 44 times lower than Tuesday's sale price.
It is now the ninth most expensive painting ever to be sold at auction, a list currently topped by Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi," which went for $450 million at Christie's in New York in 2017.
Pablo Picasso's "Les femmes d'Alger (Version 'O')" held the previous auction record, having sold for $179.4 million in 2015. And the sale of Edvard Munch's "The Scream" for $119.9 million in 2012 marked more than a new art record at the time: It was the first time that a work in pastels, rather than oil or acrylic, had come close to achieving such a price.