1 December 2021

Monet Water Lilies Breaks Record Price for Western Painting Sold in Mainland China


Monet, Bassin aux nymphéas, les rosiers (1913) oil on canvas, 73 x 100 cm, private collection.

Auctioneer China Guardian’s sale for Monet’s Bassin aux nymphéas, (Water Lily Pond) of a little over $24 million is the highest price ever paid for a European painting sold in mainland China. The sale was on Sunday, 28 November.

The previous record price was achieved by a Gerhard Richter painting. This was China Guardian’s first Western Modern and Contemporary Art Masters sale. China Guardian was established in 1993 and has its headquarters in Beijing with outposts in Guangzhou and Shanghai.

Although the buyer was anonymous, it is believed the successful bid went to Wang Jianlin, founder of China’s largest real estate development company. He has an estimated net worth of $14.4 billion. His company Dalian Wanda Group acquired AMC Entertainment. Wang Jialin was China’s wealthiest individual from 2015 to 2017. He is best known as a collector of Chinese art. In 2011, Wang Jialin paid for the restoration of the Grand Bao-en Temple in Nanjing. Ancient Buddhist relics were excavated at the Temple.

Wang Jialin in 2013 bought a Pablo Picasso painting of his children, Claude and Paloma (1950).

Bassin aux nymphéas shows Monet’s garden at Giverny in summer, with an arch of roses, in full bloom.

The provenance of the painting was excellent. It was acquired directly from Claude Monet by Galerie Durand-Ruel of Paris in early 1919. It has been shown at prominent exhibits. It is published in the Wildenstein catalogue raisonné.