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Picasso sells for $41.5m in New York

2012-11-09 14:29
pablo picasso
New York - An erotically charged Picasso oil painting of his mistress alongside tulips and fruit sold on Thursday for $41.5m on an otherwise anemic night for high-end art in New York.

"Nature morte aux tulipes," painted in 1932, was the star of Sotheby's Impressionist and modern art sale in Manhattan. The pre-sale estimate for the work had been between $35m and $50m.

The painting depicts the head of Marie-Therese Walter, who was Picasso's lover and famous muse, poised over a suggestive flower arrangement.

Its sale was one of the few bright spots for Sotheby's, with 30% of lots failing to sell and the total haul of the evening amounting to $163m - below the low end of the overall $169-245m estimate. This followed a similar performance at the Christie's auction on Wednesday.

Auction record

Another of the Marie-Therese series offered by Sotheby's, "Femme a la fenetre (Marie-Therese)," sold for $17.2m, inside the $15-20m estimate.

Other successes included the $12.1m paid for "Champ de ble" by Claude Monet, well above the $5-7m estimate.

Paul Cezanne's "Femme nue debout" went for $5.3m, inside the estimate, and Henry Moore's sculpture "Two piece reclining figure No. 1" sold for $4.7m, at the high end of its estimate.

However, numerous works failed to find buyers, including Picasso's "Plant de tomate", estimated to sell for $10-15m, and the same artist's "Femme a la robe verte", which was listed at $6-8m. Cezanne's "La femme a l'hermine", which had been hoped to fetch between $5m and $7m, also flopped.

On Wednesday, Christie's in New York sold a Monet water lily painting for $43.8m and saw a painting by Wassily Kandinsky sell for an auction record of $23m. However, the auction overall was seen as relatively muted, with a third of works not selling.

Next week, the rival auction houses hold their contemporary art sales.

Read more on:    sotheby's  |  pablo picasso  |  new york  |  auction  |  art
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