Hard to Live With

monet meules

This work from Claude Monet’s “Meules” (“Grainstacks”) series set an auction high for any work by an Impressionist painter, according to Sotheby’s, which handled the $110.7 million sale. Credit via Sotheby’s.

Claude Monet’s series paintings are among the few true trophies that can generate real excitement at auctions… “They’re so evocative, so romantic and so easy to live with,” Offer Waterman, a London-based dealer, said. “That was the best of the series… It was an amazing painting. And you just can’t get them.”

“The longer you spend buying it, the longer you’ll spend enjoying it,” quipped Harry Dalmeny, the auctioneer… as he urged the bidders on.

(Scott Reyburn, “A Monet Sells for $110.7 Million, an Auction High for an Impressionist Work,” NYTimes, 5-14-19)

Well, yes, you can get a true trophy in a frenzy of real excitement if you’re filthy rich.

Monet did only (!) 25 of these “Meules” paintings in 1890 and 1891 in the fields next to his home in Giverny. I like to think he would spin in his grave at knowing that the fruit of his honest labor is being retailed at astronomical sums of filthy lucre by cynical
auctioneers in a philistine micro-bubble of obscene wealth peopled by a handful of hedge fund managers, petroleum potentates, and their ilk.

I join Claude in finding it disheartenening, dispiriting, discouraging, demoralizing, debasing, disgusting, and denaturing to lose perfectly decent art to gilded closets.

(c) 2019 JMN

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day, and watch Netflix and Prime Video for entertainment. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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