Picasso's 1932 'Golden Muse' Portrait Leads Sotheby's Multi-Million Dollar Sale

Category: Media & Culture / Feb 01, 2013 10:21AM EDT
Pablo Picasso's magnificent portrait of his muse Marie-Thérèse Walter painted in 1932 is one of the highlights of a an upcoming Impressionist and Modern Art auction at Sotheby's London. The painting, entitled 'Femme assise près d'une fenêtre', has an estimate of up to 55 million dollars, but could well exceed that. Helena Newman is an art specialist for Sotheby's and said that this example of a 1932 Picasso is extremely rare to see on the art market - with most only existing in museums. "This great painting by Picasso of Marie-Therese, his muse and lover, painted in 1932 - most of the examples from this year and of his Marie-Therese subject are in museums around the world. So, it represents a real opportunity for a collector to buy a museum quality painting coming out of private hands," Newman told Reuters TV on Wednesday (January 30), as the paintings were being prepared for their official viewing. The large painting of Marie-Therese, known as Picasso's 'golden muse', is expected to generate a lot of interest on the international art scene. But at 40 million dollars, the estimate could well be exceeded if previous 1932 Picasso's are any guide. "We've estimated this painting at 25-35 million pounds, which is around 40-55 million dollars. And that's in the context of two recent 1932 Picasso's both in the 40 million dollar range, and also the record price for a Picasso at auction of 106 million dollars that is for a 1932 Marie-Therese," explained Helena Newman. Another highlight of the auction, which takes place on Tuesday evening (February 5), is the monumental 'Nymphéas avec reflects de hautes herbes' by Claude Monet, which has never previously been seen at auction. "Its appearance presents a real opportunity for a collector to buy a major monumental Monet of his most celebrated series of paintings," said Newman. A rare Monet landscape painting is also going under the hammer. The snow scene 'Le Givre à Giverny' comes from the collection of George, 9th Earl of Jersey, which also includes works up for auction by Sisley, Pissarro and Gauguin. When explaining what drives the price up on a work of art, Newman said there are certain qualities collectors are looking for. "Iconic subject matter is key, rarity is key, acquiring a work of museum quality where most of the other examples of similar paintings might already be in museums," she said. Three rare-to-market works by early 20th century artist Egon Shiele are also set to auction at Sotheby's. Sciele's 'Liebespaar (Selbstdarstellung mit Wally)' comes from the Leopold Museum in Vienna together with two other exceptional works on paper by the artist. "It's particularly rare to see works of this quality at auction, and this is a work that I think could well set a new auction record for a Schiele work on paper at auction," said Newman. The three works are being sold by the museum in order to complete the payment of a restitution claim to the descendents of Austrian art collector Jenny Steiner after another Schiele work was looted by the Nazis, and then later auctioned. As Newman explained, the sale of the three Schiele artworks at Sotheby's means the Leopold Museum can keep another work of art. "The sale of these three works from the Leopold Museum in Vienna will be used to complete the financial settlement, whereby the Leopold Museum was able to acquire the painting 'Haeuser am Meer' (Houses by the sea) from the heirs of Jenny Steiner," Newman said. (Video Source: Reuters)