An unseen portrait by Spanish impressionist painter Pablo Picasso of his lover and muse Marie-Thérèse Walter will soon be unveiled in public and put up for auction for the first time later this month. The charcoal sketch, which was part of the artists’ personal collection until his death, will be sold for an estimated £6m-£9m, The Guardian reported.
The 1931 portrait, titled Femme endormie, was inherited by Picasso’s son Bernard following his demise. It was later bought by its present owner in 1986 and has remained part of a private collection, which is yet to be publicly exhibited. The sketch will now be sold to the highest bidder at an event organised by international auction house Sotheby’s on July 28.
Helena Newman, worldwide head of Sotheby’s impressionist and modern art department told The Guardian that the drawing is “an absolute gem, it is so exquisitely beautiful.” “He has applied a technique which gives an incredible intimacy to the work.”
“It’s charcoal and is effectively the hand literally almost caressing her. It is just wonderful, it looks back to the great drawings of the Renaissance yet it is so incredibly modern and free and spontaneous and direct. It is like you are looking over his shoulder as he is drawing it,” she added.
Picasso’s long-running affair with Marie-Thérèse Walter was said to have inspired a number of his paintings and sculptures. Picasso was 45 years old and in an unhappy marriage when he first saw Marie through the window of an art gallery in Paris in 1927. Their relationship began soon after and lasted a few decades.
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