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Monet, other art lead auctions Shimmering ‘Water Lilies’

NEW YORK, May 6, (AP): A Claude Monet painting that has been out of the public eye for decades is among the highlights leading the spring art auctions in New York City. The anticipated auction season begins Tuesday evening with the sale of impressionist and modern art at auction house Christie’s, which expects to raise a total of more than $245 million. Among the top lots is Monet’s shimmering “Water Lilies.” The 1907 work of Monet’s beloved garden in Giverny, France, has not been publicly exhibited since 1926 and is estimated to sell for $25 million to $35 million. Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s “Young Women Playing Badminton” is another highlight, expected to sell for between $10 million and $15 million. Both works belonged to Huguette Clark, a copper mining heiress from the US state of Montana who died at 104 in 2011. Her father, US Sen William A. Clark, founded Las Vegas. Christie’s is selling hundreds of items from her collection after a feud over her estate was settled in the fall. The auction house is scheduled to sell other pieces from the collection on June 18.

Also on tap at Tuesday’s sale are two works appearing at auction for the first time, a work by Pablo Picasso and another by Russian-born artist Wassily Kandinsky. Picasso’s 1942 portrait of his mistress in a purple dress titled “Portrait of Dora Maar” is estimated at $25 million to $35 million and Kandinsky’s 1909 abstract work “Beach Scene” has a presale estimate of $16 million to $22 million. The Christie’s sale also includes other works by Picasso, as well as by Edgar Degas and Henri Matisse. On Wednesday evening, the scene moves to Sotheby’s. The auction house is offering four sculptures and one oil painting by Alberto Giacometti and three works by Joan Miro that had languished in a vault in New York for 50 years. Next week, both houses are offering works by postwar and contemporary artists.

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