Monet’s Water Lilies – perhaps the most popular poster in girls’ dormitory rooms.
The originals are of course a little more precious.
Christie’s of New York has announced an evening sale of Impressionist and Modern Art on November 7, with the 1905 Monet painting Nymphéas as the star.
Nymphéas is expected to take in anywhere from $30 to $50 million with all the proceeds benefitting Tarryown’s Hackley School.
Painted in his lily pond garden at Giverny, Monet's Nymphéas was among the series that won raised the artist to another level of critical and commercial success in a 1909 Paris exhibition.
Its owner lineage: first, dealer Paul Durand-Ruel owned it, then sold it American collectors Charles B. Alexander and Harriet Crocker (daughter of railroad magnate Charles Crocker). They sold it in 1979 to Ethel Strong Allen and Herbert Allen, Sr., who kept it privately until 1998 when they loaned it to a Monet show put on by London's Royal Academy of Arts and Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts.
The Allen history with Hackley is long and lucrative. According to the Christie’s press release:
Three generations of the Allen family have attended the school, and Mrs. Allen’s late husband served as a trustee and honorary trustee of Hackley for nearly 45 years. His son, Herbert A. Allen, previously donated $10 million to support the school’s long term development goals, including the purchase of 172 contiguous acres from the Laurance S. Rockefeller Fund.
Ethel Strong Allen, widow of her Wall Street executive husband, died earlier this year, bequeathing Nymphéas – along with two paintings by Pisarro and Sisley also pictured here and estimated to fetch between $2.5 and 3.5 million each – to the school.
"With sales of the three paintings from the Allen estate expected to achieve a combined total well in excess of $35 million, the bequest to Hackley School may be among the largest ever made to an independent school in the state of New York," the Christie's release said.
Of course, Hackley is tickled.
“It’s an imponderable number to consider, and many of our students have connected more with the beauty of painting,” Headmaster Walter Johnson said. “Hackley simply would not exist if it wasn’t for Herbert Sr. and the Allen family’s support over the years.”
Proceeds from their sale will benefit the school’s long-term development goals.