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Christie’s to sell Monet's masterpiece from the Gare Saint-Lazare series

Claude Monet's iconic La Gare Saint-Lazare, Vue extérieure of 1877, will lead Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale on 20 June 2018. This magnificent painting, executed in 1877 as part of Monet’s celebrated ‘Gare Saint-Lazare' series will be offered for sale from ‘The Collection of Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass'. The auction house claims the painting to be "one of the most important" works by the Impressionist artist to be sold in London in the past 20 years.

Works from this esteemed collection were sold in New York in November 2017, with Vincent van Gogh’s Laboureur dans un champ as a highlight, sold for $81,312,500, the second highest price achieved for a work by the artist at auction.
Monet painted the series of 12 canvases within three months in 1877, and it was for the first time the artist consciously conceived a group of works as a whole.
The present work, La Gare Saint-Lazare, Vue extérieure, depicts the busy railway station which had been modernised and extended in the late 1860s. By 1870, the Gare Saint-Lazare was handling over 13 million passengers a year and had become a major transit point for the vibrant city. The modern age of steam trains, iron railway bridges and extensive public transport was perfectly captured in this remarkable series of Monet’s steam-filled, atmospheric impressionist masterpieces.

La Gare Saint-Lazare, Vue extérieure (1877) comes from the collection of Nancy Lee and Perry Bass, the Texan couple credited with transforming Fort Worth. "It is one of the most important paintings by Monet to be sold in London in the past 20 years," Keith Gill, Christie’s Head of the Impressionist and Modern Evening Sale, says.

Gare Saint-Lazare paintings are frequently shown in major retrospectives, much reproduced and included in the permanent collection of many of the most celebrated museums in the world.

Of the 12 works Monet executed in 1877, three still remain in private hands, and nine are in public institutions: the Fogg Art Museum, part of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts; the Art Institute of Chicago; the National Gallery, London; the Musée Marmottan and the Musée d’Orsay, both in Paris. Two of these museum works are currently on show in London’s National Gallery exhibition, Monet & Architecture (until 29 July 2018), a pioneering show that examines Monet’s career through the lens of the architecture that he painted. La Gare Saint-Lazare, Vue extérieure was recently on loan to the Kimbel Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas.
The entire series of ‘Gare Saint-Lazare' was created in a short period of the artist’s intense creativity, between January and March 1877. The subject would turn out to be Monet’s last confrontation with modernity, before he abandoned the painting of modern life, and started to pursue pure landscape
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While the works in the group differ in size, viewpoint and handling, the series marks the first occasion whereby the artist committed himself to the pursuit of a single subject through a long sequence of variations. In the Gare Saint-Lazare series Monet depicted the station from a variety of different positions, at different times of day and in different atmospheric conditions. This would come to be one of the defining aspects of Monet’s practice for the rest of his career. In April 1877, Monet included several of his recently painted Gare Saint-Lazare canvases in the Third Impressionist Exhibition.
"The paintings represent a dialogue between Monet and the increasing modernity of everyday life in Paris".
Keith Gill, Christie’s Head of the Impressionist and Modern Evening Sale

In La Gare Saint-Lazare, Vue extérieure, Monet has moved outside the covered interior area of the Gare Saint-Lazare, into the midst of the platforms; the railway track weaving a dynamic, serpentine path through the foreground of the scene, as two trains move through the bustling station. One emerges from beneath the Pont de l’Europe made famous by Monet’s illustrious impressionist counterpart Gustave Caillebotte.

The combination of loose, staccato brushstrokes with the areas of more refined capturing of the architectural detail, steam and people, the structure of this newly constructed beacon of modernity appears as a vivid and rapidly executed scene of modern life. The architecture and atmosphere create a painting that has become an icon of its time.

Left: Claude Monet. Gare Saint-Lazare (detail)

Before he executed La Gare Saint-Lazare, Vue extérieure, Monet had been living and working in Argenteuil, just outside Paris. Based in rural Montgeron in the summer of 1876, he returned to the capital eager to capture the bustling urban landscape
The development of the genre from antiquity to the present day: how did religion and the invention of oil painting contribute to the development of the genre in Europe, and why was the Hudson River so important? Read more
. Monet’s friend, the artist Gustave Caillebotte (1848−1894), rented him a small ground-floor apartment near the station; just three months later, the series of 12 works was complete.

Let us remind you, on 8 May 2018 at Christie’s New York sale of the Peggy and David Rockefeller collection, Claude Monet’s "Nymphéas en fleur" was sold for $84.7mln, setting a new record for the Impressionist artist.

The previous record was set in the same salesroom back in November of 2016, when the artist’s Meule (1891) made $81.4 million (about $84.2 million when adjusting for inflation) against an on-request estimate of around $45 million.

Left: Claude Monet. "Nymphéas en fleur" (1917)

Claude Monet. Haystack
1891, 72.7×92.1 cm
In general, over the past two weeks, buyers from around the world spent almost $ 3 billion on art objects in New York. The auction house Christie’s fetched 1.79 billion of the som, mainly thanks to the sale of an impressive Rockefellers' collection. In general, it brought USD832.5 million, which was a record among all private collections ever put up for sale.
Claude Monet’s 'Gare Saint-Lazare' will be open for bidding at the Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale on June 20, 2018.
Based on materials from Christie’s, Artdaily, Artnews

Title illustration: Christie’s official site