The oil painting belonged to the collection of the late Emily Fisher Landau.
Art collector Emily Fisher Landau bought Pablo Picasso’s 1932 masterpiece “Femme à la montre” at the beginning of her collecting journey. It was considered a bold move for a new collector but she bought the painting on the spot.
It has remained one of the keystones of her collection for more than five decades. It’s been hanging above her mantle in her New York home until her passing earlier this year in March.
About 120 pieces from Landau’s collection will be put up for auction in November, including this highly sought-after painting. Depicting Picasso’s lover and muse Marie-Thérèse Walter, the masterpiece is expected to sell for over $120 million.
Picasso first met Walter when she was only 17 years old and he was still married to his first wife. Because of this, their relationship was a well-guarded secret for many years.
Since then, she’s become the subject of many of the artist’s most valuable drawings, paintings, and sculptures. “Femme à la montre,” measuring 51¼ x 38 inches, is from one of the most prolific years of Picasso’s career, according to Sotheby’s.
“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. Its bold primary colors sing from the five-foot-tall-canvas,” said Julian Dawes, Sotheby’s head of Impressionist and Modern Art for the Americas.
An Expansive Collection
Aside from the noteworthy Picasso, Landau’s collection also includes works by Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol, Willem de Kooning, and Georgia O’Keeffe. The entire collection is expected to sell for more than $400 million overall.
Meanwhile, if estimates hold true, “Femme à la montre” would become the second most expensive Picasso painting to sell at auction. In 2015, Picasso’s “Les femmes d’Alger” sold at Christie’s for $179.4 million.
Sotheby’s auction for Landau’s collection will take place in New York on November 8 and 9. Ahead of the auction, the piece has been on tour, traveling to Paris, Taipei, Los Angeles, Dubai, and Hong Kong.
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