Embodiment of Claude Monet's Impressionism goes under the hammer

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Dans La Prairie was painted in 1876 and features the artist's wife Camille almost submerged in a flower-strewn field in Argenteuil, to the north of Paris - a place that was to become one of the most important cradles of Impressionism and was also featured in the works of Manet and Renoir.

The painting was first shown at an exhibition in Paris in 1877 and its colour-filled canvas, built with darting brushstrokes, was seen as the embodiment of the new trend of "Impressionism".

Monet's skill in capturing the scene would later lead his contemporary, Paul Cézanne to remark: "Monet is the strongest of us. He's only an eye, but, my God, what an eye!"

It is the first time Dans La Prairie will have been seen for decades since it has remained in private hands around Europe for most of its existence and was last exhibited at the Tate Gallery in London in 1957.

Christie's the auctioneers expect it to fetch around £15 million when it goes up for auction in an evening sale of Impressionist and Modern works in London on February 4...

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