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Friday, 11 January, 2002, 09:17 GMT
First impressions for Monet
A painting by French Impressionist Claude Monet will be shown to the public on Friday for the first time in more than a century.

Prairie de Limetz is being auctioned by Christie's next month and is expected to fetch up to 3m.

The painting of poplar trees on the bank of the River Epte, near the artist's home in Giverney, France, forms part of a sale of Impressionist and modern art at the auction house.

Renoir's Le Premier Pas is also included in the auction of works which will go on public display in New York and then in London, where the sale will be held on 4 February.

The painting is one of several being prepared by Christie's staff in London on Friday prior to the public displays.

Studio

Christie's estimates that Le Premier Pas will sell for between 4m and 6m, while Paul Cezanne's Maisons a Valhermeil vues en direction d'Auvers-sur-Oise is tipped to sell for between 2.8m and 3.5m.

Prairie de Limetz was bought directly from Monet's studio shortly after he finished it in 1888 and has not been on public display since 1889.

"Not since the auction following our sale of Van Gogh's Sunflowers in 1987 has Christie's arranged a sale of such outstanding quality in London," said Jussi Pylkknen, international director of Impressionist and modern art at Christie's in London.

"It will be fascinating to see how the market reacts to it."

Frantic

Last year a mystery bidder paid more than 10m for a masterpiece by Claude Monet.

The painting Haystacks: Last Rays of the Sun was last seen in public in 1895, and sold for 10,123,500 after a frantic three-way bidding war at Sotheby's in London.

Claude Oscar Monet was a painter who intently studied the fleeting effects of light on the natural world.

Born in Paris on 14 November 1840, he spent most of his childhood in Le Havre, northern France.

It was a feature of his work that he would paint a particular subject in a variety of weather conditions or times of day or year.

Monet's painting Impression, Sunrise gave gave rise to the term Impressionists and earned Monet his "father of the impressionists" title.

The London sale also includes works by Degas, Pissarro, Gauguin, Signac and Kirchner.

See also:

26 Jun 01 | Arts
Monet art sale raises millions
09 Nov 99 | Americas
Monet waterlilies fetch $22.5m
19 Apr 99 | Entertainment
Monet show leaves big impression
25 Jan 99 | Entertainment
Shining light in Monet's shadow
22 Jan 99 | Join The Debate
Wallpaper your desktop with Monet
20 Jan 99 | Entertainment
Monet's kindred spirit
16 Jan 99 | Entertainment
The colour of Monet
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