One of Picasso’s Greatest Portraits Resurfaces At Sotheby’s

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We’ve at times referred to Jean-Michel Basquiat as this generation’s Picasso. And with the jaw-dropping record sale ($110.5 million) of the former’s 1982 Untitled painting at Sotheby’s last spring, one can’t help but wonder what a truly monumental work by the latter might bring.

And so comes this exciting news for lovers of Picasso’s Surrealism Period: a stunning 1937 portrait of his “Golden Muse,” titled Femme au béret et à la robe quadrillée (Marie-Thérèse Walter) has surfaced. It will tour the Sotheby’s galleries in Hong Kong, Taipei and New York, before being auctioned as part of their London Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale on February 28.

Significantly, it was painted just after his epochal anti-war masterpiece Guernica – arguably the height of his inspiration and powers.

“This depiction of Marie-Thérèse from the 1930s,” offers Thomas Bompard, Head of Sotheby’s London Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sales, “reveals Picasso’s mastery of the modern portrait. Of all of the artist’s styles and decades, this is the one that most epitomizes his legacy as a portraitist of women – with this particular painting encompassing all of the key elements for which he is recognized and celebrated.”

It is well documented that Picasso could be cruel to his mistresses. And the incredible uniqueness of this portrait is that it is said to represent Marie-Thérèse falling out of his favor, to be replaced by his new lover, Dora Maar. Indeed, Pablo was quoted as having callously remarked: “It must be painful for a girl to see in a painting that she is on the way out.”

Exhibition Dates

Hong Kong, 30 January – 2 February

Taipei, 6 – 7 February

New York, 12 – 14 February

London, 22 – 28 February