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Monet's "Water Lilies" touring Asia ahead of Christies auction

Monet's

PanARMENIAN.Net - Monet's "Water Lilies" will be lot No. 8 at the Christie's Impressionist and modern evening sale this spring, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The canvas was the VIP—Very Important Painting—at an exclusive party in Hong Kong, with a guest list that included art-world players from Beijing, Shanghai, Taiwan, Jakarta, Singapore and Malaysia. The 1907 painting, priced to sell for more than $25 million, is touring Asia with four Picassos and a handful of other works, part of a campaign to woo Asian collectors before the May 6 sale in New York.

Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso in particular have served as a bridge for cautious Chinese buyers seeking to move from acquiring only Chinese pieces to blue-chip Western works, said Rebecca Wei, president of Christie's Asia (excluding China). "Many people could not tell the difference between Renoir and Rembrandt," she said. "When they think about Western paintings, they think about Monet and Picasso."

The two marquee names have burned bright in China in recent months. An event billed as the first-ever Monet exhibition in mainland China, staged inside a shopping mall in Shanghai, has drawn lines around the block. Last fall, the first Picasso sold at auction in mainland China, fetching $1.9 million at the new Christie's location in Shanghai. Soon after, at the Christie's fall Impressionist and modern evening sale in New York, a Picasso portrait of two of the artist's children sold to Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin for $28.2 million, more than double its high estimate.

Landscapes like Monet's water lilies, a subject the artist explored in scores of paintings, appear as solid investments to Chinese buyers, some of whom have trouble relating to other Western genres like Old Masters portraits, said Ms. Wei. "Chinese, they see it as a bit strange to have someone's foreign face in their sitting room," she said. It doesn't hurt that landscapes are the most popular theme in Chinese paintings, too, she said. "There's a natural linkage there."

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