Reuters_ A painting by French impressionist master Claude Monet, which has remained in private hands since 1948, is expected to fetch up to 3 million euros ($3.22 million) when it goes under the hammer later this month in Paris, auction house Ader said.
The landscape "Les Saules, Giverny" ("The Willows, Giverny"), dating from 1886, is reappearing on the French art market, where Monet’s paintings have become increasingly rare.
It is one of around three dozen lots at the upcoming Ader auction house's sale of impressionist and modern art at Hotel Drouot slated for Nov. 24.
"Paintings of Claude Monet of this scale, of this dimension no longer really exist among French families. They're found mostly in big museums or in foreign collections, but it's very rare to find them in France," Ader auctioneer David Nordmann told Reuters on Friday in a preview of the sale.
"It's a big occasion for the French market," he added.
Monet's oil painting - measuring 73cm by 92cm (28.7 inches by 36.2 inches) - belonged to a family of Jewish origin, and was displayed in their luxurious flat in central Paris. The family's grandfather purchased the painting from a gallery in Nice in 1948, and it has remained in the family's hands since.
Though not as famous as Monet's water lilies or the Gare Saint Lazare paintings, which can command prices reaching 100 million euros, "Les Saules, Giverny" bears the artist's trademark style.
"It's an oeuvre typical of Claude Monet, notably by the brush strokes and how he makes the light come out," Nordmann said.
Monet found solace in Giverny, west of Paris, from 1883 until his death in 1926, transforming a pink stucco house into his permanent home and studio, and growing a Japanese-style garden of flowers and trees spread across a pond of water lilies, which inspired many of his paintings.
The auction also includes a work by American painter Mary Cassatt. "Portrait de Jeune Fille au Chapeau Blanc" ("Portrait of a Young Woman in a White Hat") is estimated at 800,000 to 1.2 million euros.
($1 = 0.9324 euros)