Pablo Picasso’s 1932 painting of his ‘golden muse’ Marie-Thérèse has sold to an anonymous telephone bidder for $45 million at a Sotheby’s sale in London. The Impressionist, Modern & Surrealist Art sale brought in a total of $190 million.
It’s said to be the second-highest total for a Sotheby’s Evening Sale in this category in London. In total, 18 lots sold for over £1 million, while 28 sold for over $1 million.
According to Sotheby’s Helena Newman, the auction’s overall result is second only to the historic 2010 sale of Giacometti’s Walking Man.
The vibrant sale put the spotlight on “museum-quality works”, many of which have never appeared at auction or have been in private collections for decades, considered to be the “strongest offering in many years.”
Picasso’s monumental work, Femme assise près d’une fenêtre, for instance, was part of a defining series introducing his iconic young muse to the public eye. Picasso’s lover Marie-Thérèse has been recognized as a symbol of love, sex and desire in 20th Century art.
Bidders from across the world were also hunting for three drawings by Austria’s Egon Schiele, billed as “one of the most important groups of work on paper by the artist ever to come to the market”.
Schiele’s Liebespaar (Selbstdarstellung mit Wally)/Lovers (Selfportrait with Wally), dating from 1914, sold for $12 million, and set an auction record for a work on paper by the artist.
The artist’s Self Portrait in Green Shirt with Eyes Closed has fetched double the estimate at nearly $8 million.