ARTBnk: Claude Monet's 'Le Bassin aux nymphéas' - Understanding Financial Performance
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ARTBnk: Claude Monet's 'Le Bassin aux nymphéas' - Understanding Financial Performance
Claude Monet, Le Bassin aux nymphéas, oil on canvas, 1917-1919, 39⅜ by 79 in.

NEW YORK, NY.- Touted as one of the finest examples of Claude Monet’s Water Lilies paintings to appear at auction, Le Bassin aux nymphéas will be on offer at Sotheby’s on May 12th with an estimate of $40m-$60m ($46.2m-$69.2m with buyer’s premium included). Coupling the past sales history of Le Bassin aux nymphéas with comparables analysis utilizing the ARTBnk Repeat Sales Database allows us to provide the proper context for how the auction house estimate relates to past Monet performance, as well as give you the information necessary to properly contextualize the financial performance of the work come auction day.


High anticipation for the sale of Le Bassin aux nymphéas begs the question, how have comparable works performed when similarly offered for the second time at auction? Three comparable repeat sales from the Water Lilies series sold in the past ten years generated Compound Annual Returns (CARs) of 8.68%, 7.92%, and 5.31%.

Le Bassin aux nymphéas, 1917-1919, oil on canvas, 39 3/4 x 79 in

Purchased: Christie’s, May 2000, $6,826,000
Sold: Christie’s, November 2018, $31,812,500

8.68% CAR

Le Bassin aux nymphéas, oil on canvas, 1917-1919, 38 3/8 x 78 1/8 in.

Purchased: Sotheby’s, May 1998, $9,902,500
Sold: Sotheby’s, November 2010, $24,722,500

7.92% CAR

Le Bassin aux nymphéas, oil on canvas, 1917, 38 1/4 by 51 1/8 in.

Purchased: Christie’s, November 1998, $3,850,000
Sold: Sotheby’s, May 2017, $15,987,500

5.31% CAR

As we’ll further illustrate, the range of these three previous CAR results (5.31%-8.68%) compares closely with broader measures of the past decade of Monet’s return performance.

Repeat Sales Analysis

For this analysis we have taken the past 10 years of Monet’s repeat sales data to create a distribution of returns. From these returns we generated 3 CARs from the median of the bottom 80% (5.9% CAR), the middle 60% (7.54% CAR), and the top 80% (8.59% CAR) of repeat sale results. Applying these CARs to the initial sale price of Le Bassin aux nymphéas from 2004 and adjusting that value to the present day helps inform how a sale result on May 12th will relate to past results in the Monet market, as shown in the graph below.

The 10 year CAR range ($44.6m - $68.2m) aligns very closely with the buyer’s premium adjusted estimate ($46.2m - $69.2m). If Le Bassin aux nymphéas nears or exceeds $70m, not only would the work exceed the auction house estimate it would also represent a strong return compared with recent sales performance for Monet and specifically the Water Lilies. A result at or near $40m, while still generating a positive return, would indicate a diminished relative performance.

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