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Grand Canal painting fetches $56.6M, a record for Monet Venice work

Grand Canal painting fetches $56.6M, a record for Monet Venice work
"Le Grand Canal et Santa Maria della Salute" is one of six nearly identical paintings Claude Monet completed of this particular view of Venice's Grand Canal in 1908. Image courtesy of Sotheby's

May 17 (UPI) -- A Claude Monet painting of the Grand Canal in Italy sold at auction Tuesday for $56.6 million, the highest one of his Venice paintings has fetched, Sotheby's in New York announced.

The 1908 painting, Le Grand Canal et Santa Maria della Salute, sold as part of the auction house's Modern evening auction.

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The painting is one of six artworks Monet completed of the Grand Canal and the Santa Maria della Salute, a Roman Catholic church near the waterway. All six are from nearly the exact same view and differ only in color palette depending on the time of day.

One is held by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, another by the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the rest are in private hands. The identity of the buyer in Tuesday's auction has yet to be revealed.

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Monet spent several weeks in Venice with his wife, Alice Hoschedé Monet, in the fall of 1908.

He completed dozens of artworks, often painting the same scenes at varying times of day, exploring how the city's waterways combined with the changing sunlight to alter the views' colors. This was a common approach to art throughout Monet's career as seen in his haystacks, cypress trees and water lilies series.

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"The work stands as one of the finest paintings ever created by the artist, and the pinnacle of the series produced during the artist's Venetian sojourn," a release from Sotheby's said.

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"Channeling the magic of the city on canvas, Le Grand Canal showcases a breath-taking view pure brushstrokes of color and light. As Monet continues to be recognized as one of the key progenitors of abstract art that would develop in the mid-20th century, Le Grand Canal is a pivotal work that bridges the artist's ground-breaking Impressionist innovations and their continued evolution into a more freeform abstract approach."

Other notable sales at Tuesday's auction include Paul Cézanne's Clairière (The Glade) for $42 million, Pablo Picasso's Mousquetaire à la pipe, buste (Musketeer with a pipe, bust) for $8.5 million, Willem De Kooning's Leaves in Weehawken for $10 million and Henri Matisse's Fleurs ou Fleurs devant un portrait (Flowers or Flowers in front of a portrait) for $15.3 million.

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