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Monday, 4 February, 2002, 10:52 GMT
Monks sell 8m art
The Vlaminck painting could fetch 4m
The Vlaminck painting could fetch 4m
A charity run by Franciscan monks could raise up to 8m when three impressionist paintings, which were donated to them, are auctioned on Monday.

The St Francis of Assisi Foundation was given the Monet, Renoir and Vlaminck paintings by an anonymous art collector.

Renoir's L'Estaque
Renoir's L'Estaque could sell for up to 2.5m
The money raised will go towards the foundation's aid projects for the poor around the world, according to auctioneers Christie's.

The most valuable lot is expected to be La Seine a Chatou by Maurice de Vlaminck, which has an estimated price of 3-4m.

"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 Christie's international director of international and modern art Jussi Pylkkanen.

The foundation's three works will be sold as part of an impressionist and modern art sale by the auctioneers.

The St Francis of Assisi Foundation runs charitable projects in Brazil, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Chad.

Monet's Golfe d'Antibes
Monet's Golfe d'Antibes: Estimated value is 1.8-2.2m
The Vlaminck, said to be the artist's most important work, was bought by French actor Alain Delon for $7.15m in 1989, shortly before he sold it onto the anonymous owner who gave it to the charity.

The monks are hoping to raise between 1.8m-2.2m from the sale of Claude Monet's Golfe d'Antibes, painted in 1888.

The final work is Pierr-Auguste Renoir's L'Estaque, an important Mediterranean landscape, which was painted in 1882 and is expected to sell for between 1.5-2.5m.

The donor is a European Catholic who wanted to use the art to help some of the poorest people around the world, according to Mr Pylkkanen.

He chose the St Francis of Assisi Foundation because they renounce material possessions.

He had intended to leave the paintings to the foundation in his will, but was persuaded to donate them now so he could see the benefits of his gesture.

The bequest is thought to be the second biggest charity art donation after a couple gave paintings woth $45m (32m) to Unicef last year.

See also:

25 Jul 01 | Arts
$40m art sale for charity
01 Dec 01 | Arts
Reynolds painting fetches 10m
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