Art Sales: Show me the Monet

The Museum of Modern Art in New York is to sell a ravishing painting of poplar trees by Claude Monet worth an estimated £9 to £12 million ($13.6 to $18 million) in London next month. The decision, to be announced this week, now brings the total number of Monet pieces for sale at Sotheby’s in February to five, with a combined estimate of up to £70 million ($106 million) including the charges made to buyers. No wonder Sotheby’s staff are humming the Impressionist version of the immortal Abba song: “Monet, Monet, Monet, it’s a rich man’s world”.

Painted in 1887, Les Peupliers à Giverny predates by four years a series of 24 poplar tree paintings that Monet made on the river near his home in Giverny. A similar, but larger composition from that series sold in 2011 for $22.5 million to an American collector, three times the

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