Page last updated at 13:40 GMT, Friday, 20 June 2008 14:40 UK

Rarely-seen Monet goes on display


The painting is expected to fetch over £18m

A Claude Monet painting which has been seen in public only once in the past 80 years has gone on show in London.

The painting, Le Bassin Aux Nympheas, is one of four pieces from the impressionist's waterlily series.

When it goes under the hammer at Christie's on 24 June it is expected to fetch between £18m and £24m - a record for a Monet artwork.

"There's never been such a picture sold at auction in Europe in the last 20 years," Oliver Camu of Christie's said.

Le bassin aux nymphéas
Le bassin aux nymphéas was painted in 1919
"It will be the most important expressionist picture sold in Europe this year," he added.

Monet released the waterlily series during his lifetime, unlike most of his later works which remained unfinished in the studio at the time of his death.

One of the paintings is in the collection of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, another was divided and the third is in a private collection.

Other major impressionist and modern works at the sale are by Henri Matisse, Pierre Bonnard, Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, Wassily Kandinsky and Camille Pissarro.

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