Monet’s US$27.6m Painting of Charing Cross Bridge Led Sotheby’s Solid Impressionist & Modern Art Evening

Charing Cross Bridge by Claude Monet was sold for US$27.6m at Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale in New York. It captured Monet's beloved Charing Cross Bridge in London and it has remained in the collection for 40 years since it was acquired by its current owner in 1977. 

The sale pulled off a solid total of US$209m, selling 42 of 50 lots offered. Other highlights of the sale included classic Impressionist paintings by Gustave Caillebotte and Paul Signac, as well as a record-breaking painting by Tamara De Lempicka. 

Monet’s famous London series was painted between 1899 and 1901 when Monet made three trips to London. He began his mornings painting the view of Charing Cross and Waterloo Bridges from his hotel room on the Victoria Embankment overlooking the River Thames. He had nearly 100 “Londons” in various states of completion at the end of his final trip in 1901. Twelve views of Waterloo and Charing Cross Bridges are among the most finished.

Throughout these works, the artist captured the juxtaposition of the beauty of natural phenomena, such as fog rolling over the Thames, with the industrial development booming in London at the time, epitomized by smoke stacks and steam powered railways.

Claude Monet's Charing Cross Bridge. Collection of Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

Monet produced a series of 37 canvases of Charing Cross Bridge. Other examples of Charing Cross Bridge are held in the collections of institutions, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid, the Baltimore Museum of Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Monet’s paintings of Charing Cross Bridge rarely appear at auction.

Carrying a presale estimate of US$20m-30m, the present painting was hammered down for US$24m and sold for US$27.6m after premium. The canvas achieved the highest auction price for the subject by Monet. The previous auction record of $4.1 million was established in 1992, with only one other painting of Charing Cross Bridge appearing at auction since 2000.

A new world auction record was established for Tamara de Lempicka when La Tunique rose bested the US$8m high estimate to sell to applause for US$13.4m. Painted in 1927, the seductive canvas depicts one of Lempicka’s most famed muses and lovers, Rafaëla, and is a rare example of the female artist’s full-length figures. The previous auction record for Lempicka was established in November 2018, when La Musicienne from 1929 sold for US$9.1m.

The selection of sculpture on offer was led by Alberto Giacometti’s Buste d’homme (Diego au blouson), which soared past its US$8m high estimate to fetch US$14.3m after a 6-minute bidding battle between at least 7 collectors. Having remained in the same private collection since 1987, the bronze sculpture depicts the artist’s brother and one of his most frequent subjects, Diego, and dates from the most important period in Giacometti’s oeuvre – the mid-to-late 1940s and early 1950s, a period in which the artist created his most celebrated and best-known works.

Top five lots

Claude Monet. Charing Cross Bridge

Lot no.: 8
Size: 65 x 100.3cm
Painted in 1903

  • Georges Petit, Paris (and sold: Galleries Georges Petit, Paris, March 4-5, 1921, lot 100)
  • Mr. Moch, Paris
  • Mr. Kahn-Sriber, Neuilly (by descent from the above and until 1976)
  • Galerie Beyeler, Basel (acquired by 1977)
  • Acquired from the above in 1977

Estimate: US$20,000,000-30,000,000
Hammer price: US$24,000,000
Price realised: US$27,600,000

Gustave Caillebotte. Richard Gallo Et Son Chien Dick, Au Petit-gennevilliers

Lot no.: 25
Size: 89 x 116cm
Painted in: 1884

  • Richard Gallo, Paris (a gift from the artist by 1894)
  • Maurice Rolland, Paris (by decent from the above in 1936)
  • Private Collection, Paris (acquired by 1951 until at least 1978)
  • Josefowitz Collection, Switzerland (acquired by 1989)
  • Acquired from the above in 2013

Estimate: US$18,000,000-25,000,000
Hammer price: US$18,000,000
Price realised:  US$19,686,000

Paul Signac. La Corne D'or (Constantinople)

Lot no.: 21
Size: 89.2 x 116.3
Painted in: 1907

  • Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Paris (no. 16404)
  • Paul Vallotton, Lausanne (acquired by 1913)
  • Sale: Hôtel Drouot, Paris, June 10, 1937, lot 57
  • Mme Cachin-Signac & Dr. Charles Cachin, Paris (acquired at the above sale)
  • Private Collection, France (by descent from the above and sold: Christie's, New York, May 6, 2008, lot 11)
  • Private Collection (acquired at the above sale and sold: Christie's, London, February 7, 2012, lot 35)
  • Acquired at the above sale

Estimate: US$14,000,000-18,000,000
Hammer price: US$14,000,000
Price realised: US$16,210,000

Alberto Giacometti. Buste D'homme (Diego Au Blouson)

Lot no.: 13
Height: 35.5
Conceived circa 1953; this example cast in 1953 by Susse Fondeur, Paris. Numbered 2/6

  • Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York (acquired from the artist on February 5, 1954)
  • Edwin E. Hokin, Chicago (acquired from the above by 1957)
  • Private Collection, New York
  • Eppinghoven Collection, Germany
  • Galerie Beyeler, Basel
  • Acquired from the above on September 9, 1987

Estimate: US$6,000,000-8,000,000
Hammer price: US$12,300,000
Price realised: US$14,273,700

Tamara de Lempicka. La Tunique Rose

Lot no.: 43
Size: 72.6 x 116.3cm
Painted in: 1927

  • (probably) Joan Jeffrey Vanderpool, New York (acquired from the artist in 1927)
  • Howard Molyneux, New York (acquired by 1970)
  • FAR Gallery, New York (acquired by 1972)
  • June Lebovitz, New York (acquired by 1975)
  • Sale: Christie's, New York, October 1, 1983, lot 155
  • Acquired at the above sale

Estimate: US$6,000,000-8,000,000
Hammer price: US$11,500,000
Price realised: US$13,362,500

Auction summary

Auction house: Sotheby’s New York
Sale: Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale
Sale date: 12 November 2019 | 7pm
Lots offered: 50
Sold: 42
Unsold: 8
Sold by lots: 84%
Sale total: US$208,958,100