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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 June 2007, 12:00 GMT 13:00 UK
Monet masterpiece goes to auction
Nympheas has not been seen in public since 1936

Claude Monet's 1904 masterpiece Nympheas is expected to fetch up to 15m when it goes under the hammer.

The painting will be sold at Sotheby's in London as part of the auction house's Impressionist & Modern Art sale on 19-20 June.

The sale will also feature works by Henri Matisse, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Pablo Picasso.

Francis Bacon's 1978 Self Portrait will form the centrepiece of a Contemporary Art sale at Sotheby's on 21 June.

The portrait, considered to be Bacon's most important work, is estimated to fetch 8-12m.

Iconic image

Monet's Nympheas - which has not been seen in public since 1936 - is widely seen as one of the finest from Monet's waterlily series to have come to the market.

His paintings of waterlilies are among the most iconic images of Impressionism, and only a few such works remain in private hands.

Bacon's Self Portrait is an iconic image of the influential painter

Simon Shaw, head of Sotheby's Impressionist and Modern Art department in London, said: "The strength of recent sales has drawn some exceptional works onto the market, enabling us to put together a tightly curated sale."

The June series of Impressionist & Modern Art and Contemporary Art sales have a combined pre-sale estimate of 136.6-193.5m.

Works by Amedeo Modigliani, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Damien Hirst, Andy Warhol and Banksy will also be auctioned during the sales.

Banksy's Pie Face (2006) is expected to make between 70,000 and 100,000, and it is the first time Sotheby's has included his work in an evening sale of Contemporary Art.

In April a painting by Banksy sold for 288,000 at auction - a new record for the artist.

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