Picasso’s ‘Woman with a Watch’ fetches $139 mn at auction

“Woman with a Watch,” one of Pablo Picasso’s greatest works, brought in $139.3 million at auction on Wednesday night from Sotheby’s in New York. This is the artist’s second-highest price to date.

Prior to being up for auction, Sotheby’s priced the 1932 picture, which features French painter Marie-Therese Walter as one of the Spanish artist’s muses and companions, at over $120 million.

“Femme a la montre” is part of Sotheby’s special sale this week of the collection of New York arts patron Emily Fisher Landau, who died this year at the age of 102.

Julian Dawes, the house’s head of impressionist and modern art, called the Picasso canvas which hung in Landau’s living room “a masterpiece by every measure.”

“Painted in 1932 Picasso’s ‘annus mirabilis’ it is full of joyful, passionate abandon yet at the same time it is utterly considered and resolved,” he said.

Walter was considered Picasso’s “golden muse”, and features in another of his works on the block on Thursday at Christie’s: “Femme endormie,” or “Sleeping Woman”, estimated to sell for $25-$35 million.

Additionally, she was in the film “Femme assise pres d’une fenetre (Marie-Therese)”, which brought $103.4 million at auction in 2021.

When Walter first met Picasso in Paris in 1927, the Spanish artist was only 17 years old and still wed to Olga Khokhlova, a Russian-Ukrainian ballet dancer. The couple’s daughter passed away a year ago.

In 2010, a 1932 Picasso was auctioned for $106 million.

“The Women of Algiers (Version O),” an oil painting by Picasso from 1955, set a record when it sold for $179.4 million.

In addition, it set a record for the highest-ever auction sale of an artwork when it was sold at Christie’s New York in 2015.

It was dethroned in November 2017 by the sale of “Salvator Mundi” attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, which went under the hammer for $450 million and holds the record to this day.

Mridha Shihab Mahmud is a writer, content editor and photojournalist. He works as a staff reporter at News Hour. He is also involved in humanitarian works through a trust called Safety Assistance For Emergencies (SAFE). Mridha also works as film director. His passion is photography. He is the chief respondent person in Mymensingh Film & Photography Society. Besides professional attachment, he loves graphics designing, painting, digital art and social networking.
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