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Monet Painting to be Sold at Auction


Jointly Owned Monet Painting to be Sold at Auction, Proceeds Will Be Used to Support Future Nelson-Atkins Acquisitions

Kansas City, MO. April 1, 2024–The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City announced today that the Claude Monet painting Mill at Limetz, 1888, which was a partial gift to the museum in 1986 by Ethel B. Atha, will be sold at auction following the death in September 2023 of her daughter, Ethelyn Atha Chase, who held a life interest in part of the painting. Upon the passing of Mrs. Chase, the family decided they wished to sell their one-third share, and together with the museum reached an agreement to proceed with an auction.

The Nelson-Atkins contracted with Christie’s Auction Company and the auction will take place in May; the museum’s portion of the sale proceeds will support future art acquisitions. The work has been shared between the family’s descendants and the museum and has been regularly on view at the museum since 2008. It is one of five paintings by Monet in the Nelson-Atkins collection.

“We are so grateful to the Atha family for their generosity, which has made it possible for us to share this wonderful Monet with our community forCLAUDE MONET - Moulin de Limetz many years,” said Julián Zugazagoitia, Director & CEO of the Nelson-Atkins. “While we did pursue the possibility of acquiring the family’s remaining share, this was ultimately not possible. However, while we will miss this beautiful work, this sale is also an opportunity for the museum to create the Joseph S. and Ethel B. Atha Art Acquisition Endowment with the auction proceeds that will allow us to acquire art to honor the family in perpetuity and continue adding to and refining our exceptional collection.”

The Atha legacy in Kansas City started in 1908 when Frank Perry Atha expanded operations of the Folger Coffee Company to the Midwest. They were also patrons of the arts, and collected French Impressionist paintings, British and American silver, and American modernism. Since 1982, the family has also maintained support of an annual endowed lecture series by distinguished art historians. In October 2023, the most recent speaker was Dr. André Dombrowski of the University of Pennsylvania, who spoke on “Instants, Moments, Hours: How Monet Paints Time.”

Mill at Limetz is one of only two paintings the artist realized in the summer of 1888 that feature this view of the grain mill at Limetz on the River Epte, about a mile away from the artist’s Giverny home. Its counterpart was sold recently at auction this past fall.

“We have known this day might come because of the fractional ownership of the painting but we are fortunate to have such a strong Impressionist collection, in part as a result of the generosity of many donors, especially Marion and Henry Bloch, whose support continues through the Bloch Family Foundation,” said Aimee Marcereau DeGalan, Louis L. and Adelaide C. Ward Senior Curator, European Arts. “While we have enjoyed sharing Mill at Limetz with countless visitors for nearly four decades, we can look forward to adding new works to the collection as a result of the Atha family’s support for the museum.”

The Nelson-Atkins continues to possess strong holdings in Monet that span the artist’s career. His landmark 1873/1874 composition, Boulevard des Capucines, signals the birth of Impressionism, while his enormously popular Water Lilies, ca. 1915-1926, reveals the triumphant culmination of his artistic vision. The museum also owns two lyrical snowscapes, both realized in 1875. In addition, a local Kansas City collector is now lending Monet’s serene and beautiful Church at Vétheuil, from 1881, ensuring that the artist’s 1880s works will continue to be available for viewers.

Image captions:
Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926). Mill at Limetz, 1888. Oil on canvas, 36 3/4 × 29 inches (93.4 × 73.7 cm). The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri. Partial bequest of Ethel B. Atha, 38-1986. Image courtesy Nelson-Atkins Media Services.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The Nelson-Atkins in Kansas City is recognized nationally and internationally as one of America’s finest art museums. The museum opens its doors free of charge to people of all backgrounds.

The Nelson-Atkins serves the community by providing access to its renowned collection of more than 42,000 art objects and is best known for its Asian art, European and American paintings, photography, modern sculpture, and Native American and Egyptian galleries. Housing a major art research library and the Ford Learning Center, the museum is a key educational resource for the region.

The Nelson-Atkins is located at 45th and Oak Streets, Kansas City, MO. Hours are 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday, 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Thursday and Friday, closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Admission to the museum is free to everyone. For museum information, phone 816.751.1ART (1278) or visit nelson-atkins.org.

For media interested in receiving further information, please contact:

Kathleen Leighton, Manager, Media Relations and Video Production
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art