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Life & Style

Picasso masterpiece begins pre-auction tour in Dubai

Published September 26, 2023
A visitor looks at Pablo Picasso’s painting ‘Femme à la montre’ displayed for viewing at Sotheby’s Dubai on September 25, 2023. The painting, which can be viewed in Dubai on September 25 and 26. Photo: AFP
A visitor looks at Pablo Picasso’s painting ‘Femme à la montre’ displayed for viewing at Sotheby’s Dubai on September 25, 2023. The painting, which can be viewed in Dubai on September 25 and 26. Photo: AFP

DUBAI: A Pablo Picasso masterpiece expected to fetch at least $120 million at auction went on show Monday in Dubai, kicking off a set of rare viewings outside the United States.

The 1932 portrait of Marie-Therese Walter, Picasso’s mistress and ‘golden muse’, is being exhibited for two days before heading to Hong Kong and London, a boon for the United Arab Emirates’ bid to establish itself as a cultural powerhouse.

 Visitors look at Pablo Picasso’s painting ‘Femme à la montre’ displayed for viewing at Sotheby’s Dubai on September 25, 2023, with their back to Andy Warhol’s 1980 artwork entitled ‘14 Small Electric Chairs Reversal Series’. Photo: AFP
Visitors look at Pablo Picasso’s painting ‘Femme à la montre’ displayed for viewing at Sotheby’s Dubai on September 25, 2023, with their back to Andy Warhol’s 1980 artwork entitled ‘14 Small Electric Chairs Reversal Series’. Photo: AFP

Picasso masterpiece to fetch $120mn in November auction: Sotheby’s

The viewing “marks the first time a painting of this calibre by the world-renowned artist has ever been exhibited in the UAE”, Sotheby’s Dubai said in a statement, noting it is the first time the portrait had been shown outside the US in half a century.

“Over the years the UAE has earned the status of being a global art destination, which receives a further boost as this rare Picasso is unveiled here,” said UAE Culture Minister Sheikh Salem bin Khalid al-Qassimi.

The portrait is the highest value painting ever brought to the Middle East by an auction house, added Khaleej Times. Within hours of its opening for public viewing, dozens of people had assembled at the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) to view it.

The painting titled ‘Femme a la montre’ will be sold in November as part of a two-day auction of late New Yorker Emily Fisher Landau’s prestigious collection.

The painting will be on view to the public at the DIFC on Tuesday, September 26, from 10am to 7pm before it travels to Hong Kong and London. It will then return to New York, added Khaleej Times.

Sotheby’s Dubai set to exhibit $45mn of art, jewellery and watches

Walter met Picasso in Paris in 1927, when the Spaniard was still married to Russian-Ukrainian ballet dancer Olga Khokhlova, and while Walter was 17.

Walter, whose daughter with Picasso passed away last year, was also featured in ‘Femme assise pres d’une fenetre (Marie-Therese)’, which sold in 2021 for $103.4 million by Christie’s auction house.

Fifty years after his death in 1973 at age 91, Picasso remains one of the most influential artists of the modern world, often hailed as a dynamic and creative genius.

But in the wake of the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and assault, the reputation of this workaholic with a vast output of paintings, sketches and sculpture has been tarnished by accusations he exerted a violent hold over the women who shared his life and inspired his art.

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