One of Pablo Picasso’s masterpieces, “Woman with a Clock,” was auctioned at Sotheby’s in New York on Wednesday evening for $139.3 million, the second-highest price ever for the artist.
The 1932 painting depicts one of the Spanish artist’s companions and muses, the French painter Marie-Therese Walter, and was valued at over $120 million before it was auctioned, according to Sotheby’s.
The painting is part of Sotheby’s special sale this week of the collection of wealthy New York art patron Emily Fisher Landau, who died this year at the age of 102.
Julian Dawes, head of the house’s impressionist and modern art department, called the Picasso painting “a masterpiece in every way.”
“Painted in 1932 – Picasso’s ‘Annus mirabilis’ – it is full of joyful, passionate abandon and yet at the same time extremely thoughtful and resolved,” he said.
Walter was considered Picasso’s “golden muse” and starred in another of his works that went under the hammer at Christie’s on Thursday: “Femme endormie,” or “Sleeping Woman,” which is estimated to sell for $25 million to $35 million.
Walter met Picasso in Paris in 1927, when the Spaniard was still married to the Russian-Ukrainian ballet dancer Olga Khokhlova and Walter was 17 years old.
She also starred in “Femme assise pres d’une fenetre (Marie-Therese),” which was sold by Christie’s auction house in 2021 for $103.4 million.
In 2021, Sotheby’s also sold another Picasso depicting Walter for $103 million. The couple had a daughter together who died last year.
Fifty years after his death in 1973 at the age of 91, Picasso remains one of the modern world’s most influential artists and is often celebrated as a dynamic and creative genius.
But in the wake of the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and assault, his reputation has been tarnished by allegations that he perpetrated violence against the women who shared his life and inspired his art.
Sotheby’s hopes to generate sales of around $400 million for pieces from Landau’s collection, which also includes works by Jasper Johns, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko and Andy Warhol.
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