A 1932 Cubist-style painting of Pablo Picasso’s nude portrait of his muse Marie-Therèse Walter, Femme nue coucheé, fetched 67.54 million dollars at a modern art auction at Sotheby’s in New York on Tuesday.
That work was the most expensive of the more than 50 pieces that went on the market this afternoon, which also included other paintings signed by the Spanish artist, such as L’Étreinte (14.11 million dollars); Mousquetaire à la pipe, bust (8.48 million) and Homme et femme nue (5.13 million).
Bidding started at 55 million dollars
The result for Picasso’s Femme nu couchée, was expected to fetch around $60 million, while bidding started at $55 million. It went to a bidder in just over a minute.
The painting shows Marie-Thérèse as a sea creature with many limbs and her head tilted back in profile. Her love of swimming and her grace in the water inspired the allusion to the sea. Since Picasso himself could not swim.
Walter’s large painting, measuring about 129.5 by 162.5 cm, was sold by an anonymous American collector. He bought it from Picasso’s descendants through the Gagosian gallery in 2008. Artnet News previously reported that the work was owned by mega-collector Steve Cohen. The most expensive portrait of Picasso’s famous muse remains Femme assise près d’une fenêtre (Marie-Thérèse), which sold for over $103.4 million at a Christie’s auction in May 2021.
In 2023, it will be 50 years since Pablo Picasso died. Preparations for an extensive commemoration are in full swing: the most important Spanish museums will highlight the work of this world-famous Malagueño from various angles.