Monet's Westminster masterpiece emerges from mists of time for £10m auction

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Hidden in the salon of a French family house for a century, this view, right, of the Houses of Parliament by Claude Monet went on show yesterday for the first time since it was painted.

Hidden in the salon of a French family house for a century, this view, right, of the Houses of Parliament by Claude Monet went on show yesterday for the first time since it was painted.

It is expected to make £10m when it is auctioned by Christie's in New York in November. The painting, Londres, le Parlement, effet de soleil dans le brouillard, is one of 19 oils of Westminster created by Monet during a London visit in the early 1900s and shown in an exhibition of his Thames views in Paris.

It was bought at that sale in 1904 by a French family, who kept it through three generations but have now put it on the market.

A spokesman for the auctioneers said it was "one of the most important paintings of the Houses of Parliament". It ranks above the others because it shows more of the Houses of Parliament buildings.

It is significant, too, as 14 out of the 19 painted are now in museums, including one on permanent display at the National Gallery in London, which means they rarely come on the market.

Christie's showed the work at its London salesrooms for just one day yesterday, the first time it had been seen in the capital since the early 1900s.

Monet lovingly captured the lights on the river Thames but, as they were largely caused by smog, they often alarmed him. "When I got up, I was terrified to see there was no fog, not even the least trace of a mist; I was in despair ... but little by little, as the fires were lit, the mist returned," he observed.

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