The anticipated auction season begins Tuesday evening with the sale of impressionist and modern art at Christie's, which expects to raise a total of more than $245 million.
Among the top lots is Claude Monet's shimmering "Water Lilies." The 1907 work of Monet's beloved garden in Giverny, France, has not been publicly exhibited since 1926 and is estimated to sell for $25 million to $35 million.
The current Monet auction record is for "Water Lily Pond" from 1919, which brought $80.4 million in 2008.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir's "Young Women Playing Badminton" is another highlight, expected to sell for $10 million to $15 million.
His "Au Moulin de la Galette," painted in 1876, holds the auction record for the artist. It sold for $78 million in 1990.
Both works belonged to Clark, a Montana copper mining heiress who died at 104 in 2011. Her father, U.S. Sen. William A. Clark, founded Las Vegas. Christie's is selling hundreds of items from her collection after a feud over her estate was settled in the fall. The auction house is scheduled to sell other pieces from the collection on June 18.
Also on tap at Tuesday's sale are two works appearing at auction for the first time, a work by Pablo Picasso and another by Wassily Kandinsky.
Picasso's 1942 portrait of his mistress in a purple dress titled "Portrait of Dora Maar" is estimated at $25 million to $35 million. The auction record for a Picasso is his "Nude, Green Leaves and Bust," which brought $106.5 million in 2010.
Kandinsky's 1909 abstract work "Beach Scene" has a presale estimate of $16 million to $22 million. The auction record for a work by the Russian-born artist is his "Study for Improvisation 8," which sold in 2012 for $23 million.
Both the Kandinsky and the Picasso come from the estate of German collectors Viktor and Marianne Langen.
The Christie's sale also includes works by Edgar Degas, Henri Matisse and Picasso from the collection of Bronfman, the late billionaire who led Seagram Co. and was a longtime president of the World Jewish Congress. Bronfman, a Canadian-American businessman, died late last year.
On Wednesday evening, the scene moves to Sotheby's. The auction house is offering four sculptures and one oil painting by Alberto Giacometti. Leading the selection is the artist's "City Square," a multi-figural sculpture that is estimated to bring $12 million to $18 million.
Giacometti's "Large Thin Head (Large Head of Diego)," a sculptural representation of the artist's younger brother, brought $50 million at auction last year. The auction record for any Giacometti work is $103.9 million.
Among other top lots at Sotheby's is Henri Matisse's "Morning Session," a 1924 oil of the artist's assistant, Henriette Darricarrere. It could bring up to $30 million. The current auction record is $48.8 million for his "Black IV," set in 2010.
Sotheby's also has three works by Joan Miro that had languished in a vault in New York for 50 years. The Spanish artist created them for the filmmaker and photographer Thomas Bouchard and his daughter Diane. One of the works, "Untitled, 1947," depicting colorful anthropomorphic forms on a rich blue background, is estimated at $4 million to $6 million. The other two works are set to go under the hammer at Sotheby's day sale Thursday.
Sotheby's expects Wednesday auction to bring up to a total of $322 million.
Next week, both houses are offering works by postwar and contemporary artists.