Picasso’s Femme A La Montre painting sells for £114m

A Picasso painting of his “golden muse” has sold for £114m at auction.

The Spanish artist’s 1932 work, Femme A La Montre, depicts his lover and muse Marie-Therese Walter.

She met the painter when she was 17 and he was 45 in 1927 – Picasso approached Walter during the chance encounter and declared: “I am Picasso! You and I are going to do great things together.”

Picasso, who was married to a Russian-Ukrainian ballerina named Olga Khokhlova at the same, painted a series of artworks in 1932 that announced Walter was a part of his life.

The piece is the second most expensive work by Picasso to be sold at auction after the $139.4m (£114m) bid at Sotheby’s in New York on Wednesday.

Les Femmes D’Alger, his 1955 oil painting, sold for $179.4m (£146m) in 2015.

Artist Pablo Picasso in April 1959. (AP Photo)
Pablo Picasso in 1959. Pic: AP

The oil on canvas work Femme A La Montre was owned by art patron and collector Emily Fisher Landau and is one of many pieces in her collection, which is estimated to bring in a total of well over $400m (£327m).

Ms Fisher Landau, who began collecting after receiving an insurance settlement for a jewellery robbery at her home, bought the Picasso painting in 1968 at the start of her collecting journey. It has never before been offered at auction.

American painter and sculptor Jasper Johns, Dutch-American artist Willem de Kooning, American painter and printmaker Robert Rauschenberg and abstract painter Mark Rothko are among the other artists featured in The Emily Fisher Landau Collection: An Era Defined.

Works by Andy Warhol and Edward Ruscha, who were both associated with the pop art movement, are also included.

The painting shows a portrait of Marie-Thérèse Walter, Picasso's 17-year-old lover at a time when he was aged 45, seated on a throne-style chair against a deep blue background.
Femme A La Montre

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Picasso painted Femme A La Montre when he was 50 and after he had already reached widespread fame. According to Tate Modern, the painting aimed to silence critics who questioned “whether he was an artist of the past rather than the future”.

Two other bidders were interested in buying the painting.

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