(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 22, 2018 Gallery assistants hold an artwork by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso entitled 'Femme au beret et a la robe quadrillee' (Marie-Therese Walter) with an estimate price in the region of 35 million pounds, (50 million dollars), during a photocall at Sotheby's in central London.A Pablo Picasso painting depicting his muse Marie-Therese Walter with future lover Dora Maar emerging from the shadows beat expectations to sell for an eye-watering £50 million (56 million euros, 69 million) at a London sale on February 28, 2018. AFP Photo / Daniel Leal-Olivas

LONDON: A Pablo Picasso painting depicting his muse Marie-Therese Walter with future lover Dora Maar emerging from the shadows beat expectations to sell for an eye-watering £50 million (56 million euros, $69 million) at a London sale Wednesday.

The 1937 “Femme au Beret et a la Robe Quadrillee (Marie-Therese Walter)” was estimated to fetch £36 million (41 million euros, $50 million) at the sale of impressionist, surrealist and modern art at prestigious London auction house Sotheby’s.

It was the first time the portrait had emerged on the international art market and headlined the auctioneer’s first major sale of the year, Sotheby’s said.

The identity of the seller, and its new owner, were not released.


A gallery employee poses next to an artwork by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso entitled Le Matador with an estimate price of 14,000,000 - 18,000,000 pounds during a photocall at Sotheby's in central London on February 22, 2018. AFP Photo / Daniel Leal-Olivas

“It’s an incredibly important museum quality picture,” James Mackie, director of the impressionist and modern art department at Sotheby’s, told AFP last week.

“It comes from a key era in Picasso’s career, 1937, when he makes the great painting ‘Guernica’,” he added, referring to the masterpiece which portrayed the horrors of the Nazi bombardment of a Basque city during the Spanish civil war.

The painting also has a strong autobiographical appeal, according to Mackie.

The main subject, Marie-Therese Walter, was the Spanish painter’s “long time lover and muse.”

But the looming figure of Dora Maar, whom he met in 1936, emerges in the shadows behind Marie-Therese, explained Mackie.

Several masterpieces have reached astronomical prices at recent auctions, fuelled by the opening of major museums in the Gulf and the purchasing power of collectors from emerging countries.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman acquired Leonardo da Vinci work “Salvator Mundi” for $450 million in November 2017.

“The market for masterpieces is at an unprecedented levels, and this picture certainly sits very much in that masterpiece category,” said Mackie.

Three other Picasso works also went under the hammer, including “Le Matador“, which sold for £16.5 million (18.6 million euros, $22.7 million). --AFP

1,770 reads

Related Articles

Most Read Stories by