Picasso work fetches more than R2 billion at auction


One of the Spanish artist Pablo Picasso’s famous works of art, “Woman with a watch”, was sold on Wednesday evening at an auction by Sotheby’s in New York, USA, for $139.3 million (about R 2.6 billion).

This is the second highest amount that one of Picasso’s works has ever fetched at auction. Picasso’s “Les Femmes d’Alger” (“Women of Algiers”) was auctioned in May 2015 for $179.4 million.

The auction took place by telephone on Wednesday and the artwork, which was completed in 1932, sold within minutes. Sotheby’s estimated value for the painting was more than $120 million (about R2.3 billion).

The artwork, known as “Femme a la montre” (“Woman with a watch”), depicts one of the artist’s companions and muses, the French painter Marie-Thérèse Walter.

Walter is considered Picasso’s “golden muse” and also appears in some of his other artworks such as “Femme endormie” (“Sleeping woman”) and “Femme assise pres d’une fenetre” (“Woman sitting near a window”). Both these paintings were also sold for astronomical sums.

Picasso and Walter met in Paris, France in 1927 when she was just 17 years old. At the time, Picasso was still married to the Russian-Ukrainian ballet dancer Olga Khokhlova. The couple had a daughter, who died last year.

“Woman with a watch” forms part of the auction house’s special sales from an art collection of the New York art patron Emily Fisher Landau, who died earlier this year at the age of 102.

Sotheby’s has already achieved a total of $406 million (about R7.7 billion) in sales from Landau’s art collection.