Fine Art

How Does This $20 Million Picasso Painting Compare?

Pablo Picasso is easily one of the twentieth century’s most recognized artists. His works spanned multiple decades as he was born in 1881 and did not die until 1973. Picasso’s art can fetch thousands or tens of thousands of dollars for etchings and prints, but his original pieces of art can fetch millions of dollars in auctions.

Sotheby’s has a piece titled Femme dans un fauteuil which was executed in 1927 up for auction. The piece measures 51 3/8″ X 38 1/4″ and has been signed Picasso and dated “27” in the upper left and dated “janv. 1927” on the reverse. This oil and canvas auction is part of The David M. Solinger Collection Evening Auction starting on November 14, 2022.

Here is what should stand out the most. Sotheby’s has an estimate range of $15,000,000.00 to $20,000,000.00 for the work. And despite the high price estimates, this would not even rank in the top 10 Picasso works by price. This price estimate does not automatically mean that it will be the highest price of all items in the auction. Other great artists also have incredibly high estimates for their modern art in the same auction: Joan Miró, Alberto Giacometti, and Willem De Kooning.

Image below provided by Sotheby’s.

Picasso Femme dans un fauteuil

The Sotheby’s list of notes and provenance is rather detailed, expectedly so considering the price, but this is how the piece is first described for its importance in the artist’s future:

There perhaps could be no truer words spoken of Picasso’s work, certainly of that from the defining period of the late 1920s and early 1930s after Marie-Thérèse Walter entered the artist’s world. Painted in January 1927, the same month Picasso first encountered his newest muse, Femme dans un fauteuil captures the defining motifs of both his wife and his soon-to-be lover in this pivotal moment amid the Surrealist zeitgeist.

Picasso and Marie-Thérèse’s fortuitous meeting outside Paris’ Galeries Lafayette on 8 January 1927 would forever alter the artist’s life—which is to say, his work. Immediately taken with this young woman’s soft features, fair skin and voluptuous body, Picasso invited Marie-Thérèse to his studio. The love affair that quickly ensued would change the course of his artistry, reviving his work in the years following his post-Cubist and Neo-Classical periods.

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