Claude Monetised: Impressionist bridge landscape sets new auction record

Few rail commuters trundling into one of London’s busiest stations late last year would have had any notion that 5,600 kilometres away, in a far-off New York sales room, the very structure that was bearing their weight had excited an intense bidding war. To be fair, it was not the 19th century bridge itself that was exciting collectors but rather a rare chance to own a famous Impressionist depiction of it, painted by one of the grand masters of this hugely influential movement – Claude Monet –at some point between 1899 and 1901.


The artist, temporarily residing in London, was beguiled by the structure and its interplay with the heavy urban fog of the day and it became the subject of no less than 37 of his works. Today, many fine examples of his Charing Cross Bridge series grace the walls of some of the world’s leading art repositories, with very few ever offered for sale – indeed, prior the New York auction, there had been no opportunity to purchase one for nearly 20 years, which is probably why it went for US$27.6 million, exceeding its reserve by more than $7 million.


Show us the Monet

A much anticipated event of this year’s Le French May, the Claude Monet: Spirit of Place exhibition, played to a full house at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum on its opening on 4 May. A select few were invited to an exclusive charity gala dinner to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the artist’s death – all proceeds going to Hong Kong Society for the Protection of Children. The exhibition features many of the impressionist artist’s most celebrated works and is open until 11 July.