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Monet's Iconic Haystack Painting Sold for Staggering Amount After 8-Minute Bidding War

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Editor’s Note: Our readers responded strongly to this story when it originally ran; we’re reposting it here in case you missed it.

After an intense eight-minute bidding war at Sotheby’s on May 15, Claude Monet’s iconic “Meules à Giverny,” which is also “Grainstacks” or simply “Haystacks,” sold for a staggering $34.8 million.

The late French impressionist artist’s painting is one of his most recognizable works.

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It was painted in 1893 and now has been sold 131 years later.

According to Artnet, bidding on the painting quickly reached $28.5 million, which resulted in a fast and furious bidding war in New York to proceed for almost eight minutes, only to increase the price by $1.5 million.

Jen Hua, Sotheby’s deputy chairman, wound up succeeding with the winning bid.

Monet created a series of paintings of haystacks between 1890 and 1891, and the series is highly recognized for its groundbreaking approach to light and color.

If money was no object, would you pay $34 million for a piece of art?

The “Haystacks” series consists of about 25 paintings.

The haystacks themselves were located near Monet’s home in Giverny, a small village in Normandy.

He was fascinated by how the changing light and seasons affected the appearance of the haystacks which drew him to want to capture these variations.

In doing so, he created multiple versions of the same subject under different conditions of light, weather and the time of day.

Despite the steep price tag for this haystack painting, another one of Monet’s iconic paintings of haystacks fetched a record $110.7 million at Sotheby’s in May 2019, setting a world auction record for the artist and becoming the first Impressionist work to cross the $100 million threshold, according to The Associated Press.

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Monet’s “Meules” (1890) sold at the New York auction house and was just one of only four from the “Haystacks” series to come to auction in this century.

Despite the significant sale from the May 15 auction, Agence France-Presse reported that British-Mexican artist Leonora Carrington — who died in 2011 — stole the show when she broke her own auction record.

Carrington’s “Les Distractions de Dagobert” sold for $28.5 million, placing her among the top five most valuable female artists at auction, according to Sotheby’s, and among the top four surrealist artists, “overtaking Max Ernst and Salvador Dali.”

The artwork, which was executed in 1945, is on par with Carrington’s fantastical and dreamlike imagery, often drawing from mythology, alchemy, and her own vivid imagination.

The painting’s title references King Dagobert I, a 7th-century Frankish king known for his indulgent lifestyle.

According to Sotheby’s, the painting also encapsulates a tapestry of detailed vignettes, representing the elements earth, air, fire and water.

This work also draws from a wide array of influences, including Irish mythology, alchemy, Kabbalah and indigenous Mexican cosmology.


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Adelle Nazarian has over 15 years of experience in journalism, geopolitics, and the media world. She is also an entrepreneur who has founded and served as CEO of several organizations. She enjoys traveling, is constantly learning and is inquisitive by nature. Adelle speaks English, Persian (Farsi), French and Mandarin Chinese. Follow Adelle Nazarian on X @AdelleNaz.
Adelle Nazarian has over 15 years of experience in journalism, geopolitics, and the media world. She is also an entrepreneur who has founded and served as CEO of several organizations. She enjoys traveling, is constantly learning and is inquisitive by nature. Adelle speaks English, Persian (Farsi), French and Mandarin Chinese. Follow Adelle Nazarian on X @AdelleNaz.




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