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Think of Picasso, and it's impossible not to envision the women he loved, tormented and painted, like Fernande Olivier, whose distorted features are indelibly associated with early cubism, or Dora Maar, often depicted weeping, or Marie-Thérèse Walter, whose face and body the artist sundered so violently during his surrealist years. "For me, there are only two kinds of women—goddesses and doormats," he told his postwar partner, Françoise Gilot, as she recounted in Life with Picasso, her 1964 memoir.

Since Picasso's death in 1973, the works emerging from these liaisons—and the gripping tales behind them—have provided fodder for countless museum and gallery shows.

Published in News
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 13:59

As Expected, Picasso Dominates Sotheby’s Sale

Pablo Picasso’s (1881-1973) Femme Assise Prés D’une Fenêtre (1932) sold for nearly $45 million at Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern evening sale on Tuesday, February 5, 2013 in London. The coveted portrait of Picasso’s lover and muse, Marie-Therese Walter, came from a private collection and was last seen on the market in 1997 when it sold for $7.5 million. The portrait was guaranteed to sell due to a third-party “irrevocable bid” and while the buyer remains anonymous, some believe it was the guarantor, represented by Patti Wong, the chairman of Sotheby’s Asia.

The auction, which totaled $190 million, also included a separately catalogued section of 21 Surrealist works. All but three works sold, adding $26 million to the overall sale. Highlights from this section included Joan Miro’s (1893-1983) Femme revant de l’evasion (1945), which sold for $13 million and also carried a third-party guarantee.

Another considerable sale of the night was a series of three drawings by Egon Schiele (1890-1918), which brought $22 million. The works were put on sale by Vienna’s Leopold Museum. Another Schiele work, a pencil, gouache, and watercolor piece completed in 1915, sold to Wong on behalf a client for $13 million.

The sale was Sotheby’s second highest for an Impressionist sale in London.

Published in News
Friday, 09 November 2012 16:59

Picasso Painting Steals Sotheby’s Sale

The top sale at last night’s Impressionist and modern Art auction at Sotheby’s in New York was a 1932 painting by Pablo Picasso of his muse, Marie-Therese Walter. The suggestive Nature Morte aux Tulipes, estimated at $35 to $50 million, sold to a phone bidder for $41.5 million.

The sale at Sotheby’s took place just one day after Christie’s lackluster Impressionist and modern art auction and didn’t fare much better than its predecessor. While there were some notable sales, 31% of lots went untouched including mid-level works by Degas and Rodin. While many have been blaming the election and unfortunate weather for the mixed sales, the quality of the work featured has also in question. Many have taken note of the padded sales by both auction houses and during these delicate economic times, buyers want to spend money on exceptional works, not mediocre works by exceptional artists.

On a positive note, there were a number of impressive sales besides the Picasso portrait. Claude Monet’s 1881 landscape Champ de Blé estimated at $5 to $7 million fetched $12.1 million and a photograph of Marcel Duchamp taken by Man Ray sold for $2.4 million, well over it’s $1.7 million high estimate. Another work that exceeded expectations was Fernand Leger’s Les Contructeurs, which went for $1.37 million, more than double its low estimate. The sale brought in $163 million; it was expected to garner about $169 million in total.  

Published in News
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