A tender Pablo Picasso portrait of his great muse Marie-Therese Walter is set to cross the block at Sotheby’s New York on May 14.
The work is titled La Repos (1932) and is set to be the undisputed star of a major impressionist and modern art evening sale.
Picasso depicted each of his six muses in wildly different ways, capturing the deep essence of their characters. Marie-Therese is typically shown as peaceful and radiant, often asleep. The canvases are filled with sunlight and warm, soft tones.
They’re particularly sought after by collectors. This example is valued at $25m-35m. Another Picasso portrait of Walter from 1937, towards the end of their affair, sold for £49.8m ($68.4m) last week.
Simon Shaw, co-head of Sotheby’s impressionist and modern art department, said: “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.”
The vast majority of Picasso’s catalogue is divided between museums and private collections, making those few quality remaining canvases the ultimate prizes in an exceptionally buoyant auction market.