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Friday, December 15, 2017

Hot Market in Picasso Mistress May See $35 Million at Sotheby’s

"Femmes Lisant (Deux Personnages)" (1934) by Pablo Picasso. The work will lead Sotheby's May Impressionist and Modern art sale in New York and is estimated to bring $25 million to $35 million. "Femmes Lisant (Deux Personnages)" (1934) by Pablo Picasso. The work will lead Sotheby's May Impressionist and Modern art sale in New York and is estimated to bring $25 million to $35 million. Source: Sotheby's via Bloomberg

A 1934 Pablo Picasso painting of his mistress may fetch as much as $35 million at Sotheby’s (BID) in New York next month as auction houses aim to capitalize on buyers’ appetite for iconic 20th-century art.

“Femmes Lisant (Deux Personnages)” depicts Marie-Therese Walter as a blue-faced, supple figure reading a book with another woman. It’s the top lot in Sotheby’s Impressionist and modern art sale on May 3. The evening auction is expected to tally more than $150 million, the New York-based company said.

The market in this mistress has surged in the past year. The 1932 “Nude, Green Leaves and Bust” went for $106.5 million -- a record for any work of art at auction -- at Christie’s International in New York last May. Sotheby’s in London sold the 1932 “La Lecture” for 25.2 million pounds ($40.6 million) in February. Gagosian gallery will open the “Picasso and Marie- Therese: L’amour fou” exhibition on April 14 in New York’s Chelsea district.

“These are images of desire and rapture,” said Simon Shaw, senior vice president and head of Sotheby’s Impressionist and modern art department in New York. Referring to “La Lecture,” he said, “the picture we just sold generated a huge competition; there were seven bidders.”

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