In case you thought last week’s Picasso madness was an aberration, Sotheby’s is coming back to the Marie-Thérèse market with a small 1932 work estimated at $25m:
Sotheby’s is pleased to announce that Pablo Picasso’s stunning Le Repos from 1932 will highlight of our Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale in New York on 14 May 2018. A stunning and intimate depiction of Picasso’s ‘golden muse’, Marie-Thérèse Walter, the work was painted at the apex of Picasso’s artistic production, and captures the rapturous desire of his greatest compositions.
Le Repos is estimated to sell for $25/35 million when it is auctioned this May at Sotheby’s New York. The work will travel to Sotheby’s Hong Kong, London and Los Angeles galleries this spring, before returning to our York Avenue headquarters for public exhibition beginning 4 May.
The sumptuous canvas will appear at auction during a sensational time for related works from Picasso’s oeuvre: the Tate Modern’s first solo exhibition of Picasso’s work, The Ey Exhibition: Picasso 1932 – Love, Fame, Tragedy, opens in London this week. Last Wednesday, Sotheby’s sold the artist’s 1937 portrait of Marie-Thérèse, Femme au béret et à la robe quadrillée, for an outstanding £49.8 million – a record price (in GBP) for any painting auctioned in Europe. Simon Shaw, Co-Head of Sotheby’s Worldwide Impressionist & Modern Art Department, commented: “We are thrilled to offer this stunning painting from Picasso’s greatest series this May. As we saw last week in London, there is a vigorous global demand for depictions of Picasso’s golden muse. This classic, dreamy example from his critical year of 1932 is immediately recognizable, and captures the key elements of his work inspired by Marie Therese. Its lush, painterly quality and vibrant colors stand in stark contrast to Picasso’s final portraits of his first wife, Olga Khokhlova, which immediately precede this extraordinary period – generally considered the strongest in Picasso’s entire career.”
Picasso’s paintings of his lover Marie-Thérèse are arguably the finest emblems of love, sex and desire in 20th century art. He executed his major series of paintings depicting her in January 1932, in anticipation of Picasso’s first retrospective that coming June at Galeries Georges-Petit in Paris.
The frank avowal of Picasso’s love for Marie-Thérèse is particularly evident in this work. He depicts his serene model asleep, her head in Grecian profile, and resting on her interlaced fingers. Devoid of the attributes that often accompany her in other compositions, in the present work Marie-Thérèse’s striking facial features are the main focus of the composition. Picasso embraces not only a vibrant palette of primary colors such as yellow, red and green, but also employs sumptuous and curvaceous brushstrokes to convey Marie-Thérèse’s full, passive and golden beauty, which had now become for him the personification of ripeness and fecundity.