$10 M. Picasso Portrait Unseen for Decades to Sell at Bonhams


February 25, 2021 10:00am

Pablo Picasso, 'Femme au béret mauve',
Pablo Picasso,Femme au béret mauve, 1937.COURTESY BONHAMS

Pablo Picasso painting from 1937 that has been held in a private collection for more than three decades will be offered at Bonhams in an Impressionist and modern art auction in New York on May 13. Titled Femme au béret mauve, the work is scheduled to go on view in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Paris, and Hong Kong before coming to its final location at the house’s New York headquarters. It is expected to fetch a price of $10 million–$15 million.

The painting depicts Picasso’s muse Marie-Thérèse Walter, with whom the artist maintained a relationship alongside photographer Dora Maar, to whom he was still married at the time. The work was made in Le Tremblay-sur-Mauldre, France in the year following the start of the Spanish Civil War, during this period that Picasso also painted his famed Guernica, housed at the Reina Sofia in Madrid, and Weeping Woman, a portrait of Maar now owned by Tate Modern in London.

“This bright, joyous portrait of Marie-Thérèse Walter exudes stability and calm at a time when Picasso’s personal life was in turmoil and all of Europe was living under the shadow of impending war,” Molly Ott Amber, Bonhams senior vice president and head of impressionist, modern, European and American Art, said in a statement. “Family life with Marie-Thérèse and their daughter Maya represented a refuge of serenity and sensuality so wonderfully captured in this work.”

The work is coming to auction for the first time from an American collection, where it has resided since 1984, when the owners purchased in from New York’s Hirschl & Adler gallery. Prior to that, it was briefly held by a Cologne collector who had purchased it from a Geneva dealer in the 1980s. The dealer had acquired it from the artist’s granddaughter Marina Picasso.


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