According to a statement released by Sotheby’s on Wednesday, a masterwork by the late Spanish painter Pablo Picasso, “Femme a la montre” from 1932, is likely to bring at least $120 million at auction in November.
The picture, which shows Picasso’s mistress wearing a watch, will be offered as a part of a two-day auction of the illustrious collection owned by the late New Yorker Emily Fisher Landau.
Additionally offered for sale are artworks by Andy Warhol, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, and Jasper Johns.
Fisher Landau, a well-known art patron and collector who served on the board of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York for many years, passed away in March at the age of 102.
Around 120 items from her collection will be up for auction, according to a statement from Sotheby’s, and it is “estimated to bring well over $400 million” in total, with “Femme a la montre” accounting for a sizable percentage of that amount.
The Picasso picture is “a masterpiece by every measure,” according to Julian Dawes, chairman of Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art division.
“It is full of joyful, passionate abandon yet at the same time it is utterly considered and resolved,” said Dawes, noting its creation in 1932 was part of Picasso’s “annus mirabilis,” or miracle year.
Picasso’s usage of the year 1932 was so significant that the Tate Modern in London held a whole show about it in 2018.
Picasso’s “golden muse” was Marie-Therese Walter (1909–1977), who was shown in “many of his most accomplished portraits,” according to Sotheby’s.
When the couple first met in Paris in 1927, Walter was just 17 years old and the Spaniard was still married to Russian-Ukrainian ballet ballerina Olga Khokhlova.
Walter was also seen in “Femme assise pres d’une fenetre (Marie-Therese),” which Christie’s auction house sold in 2021 for $103.4 million. Walter’s daughter with Picasso passed away this year.
Picasso is still regarded as one of the most important artists of the modern era fifty years after passing away in 1973 at the age of 91. He is frequently lauded as a dynamic and creative genius.
However, in the aftermath of the #Metoo movement, allegations that this workaholic with a prolific output of paintings, sketches, and sculpture had a violent control over the women who shared his life and served as his inspiration have damaged his reputation.