Paris, April 9, 2022 – Sotheby’s hopes to capitalize on collectors’ appetite for Picasso at its upcoming evening sale of modern art.
The auction will feature “Femme nue couchée” (“Naked woman reclining”), a painting by the Spanish artist that has remained in the same private collection for 14 years.
“Femme nue couchée” depicts one of Picasso’s most iconic mistresses and muses, Marie-Thérèse Walter, as a sea monster.
For Brooke Lampley, deputy director of Sotheby’s fine art department, this painting is “a deeply lyrical ode to the artist’s unbound desire” for the young woman.
“With her fin-like, endlessly pliable limbs, the portrait continues to enchant as it perfectly captures Picasso’s muse as the ultimate expression of his genius,” the expert explains in a statement.
This monumental painting is part of a series of about 100 paintings that Picasso made in 1932.
This year was so significant in the life of the Spanish painter that in 2017, the Picasso Museum in Paris dedicated an entire exhibition to these 365 most prolific days.
Among the most outstanding works of this period are “Nu Couché” (Reclining Nude), “Femme Assise dans un Fauteuil Rouge” (“The Red Armchair”), or “Femme assise près d’une fenêtre (Marie-Thérèse)” (“Woman Sitting Near a Window”), all inspired by Marie-Therese Walter.
The latter was sold last May for US$103.4 million at Christie’s in New York.
Sotheby’s no doubt hopes that the same destiny awaits “Femme nue couchée.”
The Patrick Drahi-owned auction house estimates that it could fetch more than $60 million. However, bidding could rise quickly given the rarity of this painting on the market.
“‘Femme nue couchée’ is a groundbreaking, extraordinarily sensual work that remained within the artist’s estate for decades before its acquisition directly from the family of the artist.
Marking the first time this painting will appear at auction, our ‘Modern Evening Sale’ will be a defining moment in solidifying 1932 as one of Picasso’s most critically important and sought-after periods,” explains Helena Newman, worldwide head of impressionist and modern art at Sotheby’s.
“Femme nue couchée” will go under the hammer on May 17 at Sotheby’s upcoming New York evening sale of modern art.
In fact, May will be a particularly busy month for art collectors, who can also try to get their hands on “Shot Sage Blue Marilyn,” a portrait of Marilyn Monroe by Andy Warhol that Christie’s bills as “the most significant 20th century painting to come to auction in a generation.”
And an exceptional lot means a hefty estimate. The auction house estimates that this painting could fetch $200 million. – AP