Monet original arrives at Barcelona gallery from mystery owner

IDEAL arts center opened three months ago with innovative immersive exhibition on the French impressionist painter

Claude Monet's 'Study of Water Lilies' in the IDEAL digital arts centre in Poblenou, Barcelona (by Pau Cortina)
Claude Monet's 'Study of Water Lilies' in the IDEAL digital arts centre in Poblenou, Barcelona (by Pau Cortina) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

February 5, 2020 12:43 PM

IDEAL digital arts center is now displaying an original Monet painting, after being given the opportunity to hang the work temporarily from an unknown private individual.

The gallery, located in the Barcelona neighbourhood of Poblenou, opened in October with an innovative immersive exhibition on the French artist. 

The 2,000-square-meter cultural center uses audiovisuals, augmented and virtual reality, and holograms to immerse visitors in the world of the father of impressionist painting.

Now, thanks to an unknown individual, the gallery boasts an original Claude Monet work, ‘Étude de Nymphéas’ (Study of Water Lilies) (1910-1915). 

"It has been a gift, a prize and a surprise", admitted the director of IDEAL, Jordi Sellas, on Tuesday. Sellas described his delight at receiving the painting to temporarily display while also announcing the extension of the Monet exhibition, which will now last until April 27.

The owner of the work has decided they want to remain completely anonymous, and Sellas has admitted he doesn’t know who the person is. The operation was partly managed by the Barcelona collector and gallery owner Carlos Duran, who acted as a mediator between the owner of the work and the arts center. 

According to the director, the mystery owner visited the IDEAL center, they "liked it very much," and decided to donate their original Monet work to the center. 

'Study of Water Lilies' was auctioned in the '90s by one of Monet's sons along with some other pieces. The painting is one of the only two Monet works in Catalonia, with the other being in Montserrat. The work has not been seen since it was auctioned in the 1990s, Sellas emphasizes.

IDEAL were given the opportunity to put the painting on display free of charge, but there were costs involved in transferring, securing, and preserving the work in its new temporary home. 

"We had to build a specific box for the work," commented Jordi Sellas. "We are a digital center, our concern is projectors, glasses, etc., but not an original work!" 

Since opening three months ago, the gallery has enjoyed a huge level of success, selling 80,000 tickets so far.