Monet painting part of NYC copper heiress auction


NEW YORK - Important paintings by Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir are among 400 items that will be sold from a reclusive heiress' private trove at Christie's this spring, the auction house announced Friday.

The sale of Huguette Clark collection comes after a feud over her estate was settled in the fall. Some of the pieces were acquired by her father, a Montana copper king, railroad baron and senator who founded Las Vegas.

Monet's shimmering "Water Lilies," which Christie's said has not been publicly exhibited since 1926, is estimated to sell for $25 million to $35 million.

Another masterpiece in the sale is Pierre-Auguste Renoir's "Young Women Playing Badminton," with a presale estimate of $10 million to $15 million.

Both will be offered May 6.

Other items from the collection will go on sale June 18. They include a Stradivari violin, Gilded Age furniture, rare books and other paintings. The total collection is expected to bring in more than $50 million.

Clark was the last surviving child of U.S. Sen. William A. Clark, who became one of the wealthiest men of his day. He is the namesake of Nevada's Clark County and established its county seat, Las Vegas.

A onetime socialite who became a social shadow, Huguette Clark died at 104 in 2011.

With no close relatives, she left a roughly $300 million estate and a swirl of questions about the input she'd gotten from a circle of caregivers and advisers and about the gifts and bequests she'd given them in return. She signed two wills within six weeks at age 98, the first bequeathing her riches mostly to about 20 distant relatives and the second cutting them out.

The September settlement mainly benefited arts institutions and the distant relations.