LONDON - A Monet painting not publicly displayed for 77 years was shown in London yesterday before its sale at auction.

Nympheas, from the French Impressionist's water lilies series, which is known as the Nympheas series, was last seen in New York in 1925.

Claude Monet painted it in 1906, depicting the lily pond he created behind his house in Giverny, north-west of Paris.

Experts believe the price might exceed the £14.1 million ($46 million) paid at Christie's in New York in 1999 for another Nympheas collection picture which was also painted in 1906.


Philip Hook, senior director of Impressionist art at Sotheby's, said he thought it could even challenge the £19.8 million world record for a Monet, paid in 1998 for a painting from 1900 that also features the lily pond.

The painting goes on sale at Sotheby's on June 24.

The painting was acquired directly from the artist by his dealers, Durand-Ruel, in 1910.

It was bought by the anonymous French owner's grandfather 30 years later.

Hook said: "The current work is important because it is a very beautiful composition, has not been seen by the public in all its glorious colour since it was exhibited in New York in 1925 and because it is in a fantastic state of preservation. It looks just as it did when Monet painted it."

Last year, Monet's Haystacks fetched £10.1 million at auction by Sotheby's.