Pablo Picasso’s painting “Femme À La Montre” garnered $139 million at Sotheby’s New York auction. It became this year’s most valuable art sold globally.
Sotheby’s sold Pablo Picasso’s painting “Femme à la montre” for more than $139 million at its New York auction. The painting became the most valuable work of art sold globally at an auction. A bidder purchased Picasso’s precious art on November 8.
Reuters reported that Picasso’s painting is “a standout of New York City’s fall art auction season. “Femme à la montre” joined a couple collections of the late philanthropist Emily Fisher Landau that Sotheby’s auctioned off. The auction event made an estimated $400 million sale.
The painting’s nine-digit purchase price caused it to be Picasso’s second most expensive painting to sell. It trails behind his “Les femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’)” which made $179.3 million in Christie’s 2015 auction.
An anonymous buyer outbid two others vying for the painting.
Landau collection traces “greatest achievements of art“
Sotheby’s Emily Fisher Landau collection auction dedicated superb examples from the 20th century’s greatest artists.
It featured artworks such as Ed Ruscha’s “Securing the Last Letter (Boss),” Jasper Johns’ “Flags,” and Mark Rothko’s “Untitled.” Picasso’s painting joined works alongside these art as well as examples from Andy Warhol, Mark Tansey, Robert Rauschenberg, and Glenn Ligon.
Sotheby’s indicated that Landau’s collection is “synonymous with connoisseurship and quality.” It spoke to Landau’s voracious and instinctive approach to collecting.
“The Emily Fisher Landau Collection traces the greatest achievements of art in the past century,” the auction company said.
Picasso’s painting in Landau collection for 55 years
Sotheby’s regarded Picasso’s painting as one of the most resolved depictions from the artist’s annus mirabilis or year of wonder. “Femme à la montre” highlighted being among the undeniably bold and sensuous portraits of French model Marie-Thérèse Walter.
Picasso’s painting looks remarkable with its brilliant blue background and its unparalleled degree of finish. The figure in the painting wore a wristwatch which became notable as Picasso gifted a wristwatch to Walter. Walter had a “superstitious reverence” for the object.
Swiss art dealer Ernst Beyeler handpicked “Femme à la montre” from Picasso’s studio in 1966. Landau acquired the painting in 1968 from New York’s Pace Gallery and it remained in her collection for the last 55 years.
Dedicated to Picasso’s “clandestine lover”
Sotheby’s referred to Walter as Picasso’s “hidden muse” and dedicated works as an ode to his “clandestine lover.” The painter hid her identity in his earliest works in the form of his surreal biomorphic interpretations and shadowy profiles.
Picasso kept their affair a secret as he was married to Russian-Ukrainian ballerina Olga Khokhlova and he and Walter’s age difference.
Walter remained his subject for a couple more artworks such as the 1932 painting “Femme nue couchée.” It sold for $67.5 million at Sotheby’s in 2022.
“Femme à la montre” translates to “Woman with a Watch.”
Banner photo via Sotheby’s.