top of page

Art Market#13: Henri Rousseau’s ‘Les Flamants’ is heading to Auction

Les Flamants, oil on canvas from 1910 by self-taught French Post-Impressionist artist Henri 'Le Douanier' Rousseau (1844-1910) is going under the hammer next May 11 in New York, at Christie's 20th Century Evening Sale.

The painting, coming from the Estate of the late Payne Whitney Middleton (in the Whitney Family collection since 1949) is offered with an estimate of $20,000,000 – 30,000,000.

Christie's Vice Chairman, 20th and 21st Century Art, Max Carter, is remarking: "A legend among the Parisian avant-garde, Henri Rousseau is perhaps the rarest major artist of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Of the fewer than 240 attributed oils in the definitive catalogues by Dora Vallier and Henry Certigny, the number of privately owned paintings with provenance traced to Rousseau can be counted on two hands. Among them there is only one monumental jungle vision, Les Flamants, which hung for many years in Joan Whitney Payson’s living room opposite Van Gogh’s Irises. In 1954, five years after the family acquired Les Flamants, Rousseau’s The Dream reportedly became the most expensive acquisition in MoMA’s history. At the time, one of Rousseau’s masterpieces appearing on the market was an event. Today it is once-in-a-lifetime.”

Property from the Estate of Payne Whitney Middleton


Les Flamants

oil on canvas

44.7/8 x 63.1/4 in. (113.8 x 162 cm.)

Painted in 1910

Courtesy Christie's

bottom of page