The deal of the art

June 27, 2008

Yikes — not a bad estate for a couple of southern Indiana hicks:

LONDON – A water lily painting by impressionist master Claude Monet owned by the estate of an Indiana couple has sold for more than $80 million at auction, kicking off a week of modern-art sales expected to reach records that defy the global economic downturn.

The painting “Le bassin aux nympheas,” or “Water Lily Pond,” was sold by Christie’s for nearly $80.5 million, including buyer’s premium, Tuesday making it the most expensive work of art ever sold by the auction house in Europe.

[. . .]

“Le bassin aux nympheas,” and 16 other works in the auction are from the estate of American industrialist J. Irwin Miller, who was head of the Cummins Inc. in Columbus, Ind. Miller and his wife, Xenia Simons Miller, were known for their love of art and architecture and are credited in transforming their hometown into a showcase for modern architecture. Irwin Miller died in 2004, while his wife died in February.

What do you think of the Fort Wayne French Impressionists as a name for our baseball team now, Reggie?


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