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This Picasso Sold for the Highest Price of Any Painting Ever in Europe

A cool £49.8m.

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About last night….

The first 2018 London sale week auction last night at Sotheby’s night was led by Pablo Picasso’s Femme au béret et à la robe quadrillée (Marie-Thérèse Walter), on which three collectors bid to sell for £49.8m / $69.2m / €56.7m. It was the most ever paid (in GBP) for a painting at auction in Europe and the second most paid for any artwork ever in Europe.

This Picasso Went for the Highest Price of Any Painting Ever Sold at European Auction
Picasso at Auction

Known for its psychological intensity, Pablo Picasso’s Femme au béret et à la robe quadrillée (Marie-Thérèse Walter) came about during a creatively exhausting time in the artist’s career. He had just painted the famous Guernica in 1937; It was the final month of that year in which he painted ‘his golden muse’ Marie-Thérèse Walter. The portrait exemplifies the way in which the women of Picasso’s life influenced and fuelled his work. This painting can be understood in terms of it’s exploration of Picasso’s feelings for Marie-Thérèse and his new lover Dora Maar. The silhouetted ‘other’ that emerges from behind the main subject suggests a blurring and consideration of the two muses.

‘Having been part of the incredible moment when Alberto Giacometti’s Walking Man achieved its unprecedented price for any sculpture, it was a particular thrill to see Picasso’s portrait of his golden muse Marie-Therésè Walter achieve a new benchmark tonight in the same saleroom for any painting auctioned in Europe. The success tonight of works including Umberto Boccioni’s spectacular Futurist composition showed that our collectors are hungry for the rarest, highest-quality examples we are able to unearth. The two works by Salvador Dalí that led our offering of Surrealist art demonstrates so well the truly global nature of our present market: sourced from Argentina, sold in our London salesroom, and purchased by an Asian collector.’ – Helena Newman, Global Co-Head of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Department

More art! The C&TH Guide to the Biggest Exhibitions of 2018 / The C&TH Guide to the Biggest Exhibitions of 2018


Oil on canvas. 55 by 46cm. Painted on 4th December 1937.

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