Monet’s ‘Moulin De Limetz’ Will Lead Christie’s 20th Century Evening Sale in New York

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, in partnership with the heirs of collector Ethel B. Atha, is selling the painting to fund future acquisitions.

An impressionist painting of a body of water with overhanging trees; in the background in a building with a bridge over the water
Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926). ‘Mill at Limetz,’ 1888. Oil on canvas, 36 3/4 × 29 inches (93.4 × 73.7 cm). The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri. Partial bequest of Ethel B. Atha, 38-1986. Image courtesy Nelson-Atkins Media Services

When a painting Claude Monet made of the grain mill at Limetz-Villez on the River Epte near his residence at Giverny in 1888 went on sale at Sotheby’s late last year, it had a high estimate of $18 million and sold for $25.6 million, with fees. Now its sister painting, Moulin De Limetz, which the artist likely worked on concurrently, is set to go on the block as a leading highlight of Christie’s 20th Century Evening Sale this May in New York with a high estimate of $25 million.

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“We are particularly thrilled to announce this just days ahead of the exact date in April that marks the 150th anniversary of the first Impressionist exhibition in Paris,” Imogen Kerr, Christie’s Co-Head of the 20th Century Evening Sale, said in a statement. Monet, along with Frédéric Bazille, first proposed a show of works by artists rejected by the official Paris Salon in 1867. The exhibition, mounted by the Société anonyme des artistes peintres, sculpteurs, graveurs, etc., was held on April 15, 1874.

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Monet’s dual views of the mill—one featuring a lighter palette that brings to mind the golden hour (the Nelson-Atkins work) and one with its prominent foliage cast in shadow (now in the collection of Pottsdam’s Museum Barberini)—presage Monet’s later career-defining obsession with series.

Claude Monet in his Garden at Giverny
Claude Monet in his garden at Giverny. Photo by George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty Images

Moulin De Limetz isn’t a work that has passed through many hands. In 1890, art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel acquired the painting—titled Moulin de Limetz sur l’Epte—directly from Monet. From there it passed to collector Lucien Sauphar, whose death led to it returning in 1936 to Durand-Ruel in co-ownership with M. Knoedler & Co. Durand-Ruel sold their half-share to Knoedler in 1941, and celebrated Kansas City art collectors and patrons Ethel B. Atha and Joseph S. Atha purchased it that same year.

The Mill at Limetz, as it’s known in English, has since 1986 been jointly owned by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City and the family of Ethel B. Atha, whose bequest gave the institution a two-third stake in the work. Over the years, the painting was shared by the museum and the Atha family, but it has been on display at the Nelson-Atkins Museum since 2008—one of five paintings by Monet in the institution’s collection.

“We are so grateful to the Atha family for their generosity, which has made it possible for us to share this wonderful Monet with our community for many years,” said Julián Zugazagoitia, director and CEO of the  Nelson-Atkins, in a statement.

Monet’s ‘Moulin De Limetz’ Will Lead Christie’s 20th Century Evening Sale in New York