LONDON – A portrait by Spanish cubist master Pablo Picasso is set to be auctioned in London and is expected to fetch up to $50 million.
Painted in 1937, “La femme au béret et à la robe quadrillée (Marie-Thérèse Walter)” is a colorful portrait of his muse from which her eyes, serious despite their brightly-patterned surroundings, stare at the viewer.
“It belongs to a prolific period of the artist’s career in which his relationship with Marie-Thérèse was complicated by his falling in love with Dora Maar, providing the impetus for a stream of portraits of both of his lovers,” said Sotheby’s, which is to make the painting available at the Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale in London on Wednesday.
The painting had been in private hands for decades, purchased directly from Picasso himself, and only exhibited twice: in 1986 and in 2013.
It was created during a very important and prolific year for the painter, who in 1937 also produced his iconic “Guernica,” which became a symbol for the horrors of the Spanish Civil War, and “The Weeping Woman,” whose heart-wrenching subject is contrasted with bright colors and shapes similar to those seen in “La femme.”