Looking for a reasonably priced Picasso? Aren’t we all. Well, all things are relative, but Picasso’s 1970 self-portrait Le Matador is heading to auction for the first time and the estimate is attractive – less than $30 million.
That’s a reflection of the fact values for Picasso’s later works are far below those of his earlier, more celebrated periods.
Yet that shouldn’t diminish your enjoyment of this piece. Because this 48-year-old work offers an extraordinary insight into the artist at the end of his carer, indeed the end of his life. Picasso painted this just three years before his death.
The work presents Picasso as a matador, and places him in the midst of the bullfighting arena, holding a paintbrush instead of a bullfighter’s more usual accoutrements.
The global co-head of Sotheby’s impressionist & modern department, Helena Newman, explained to Artnet that this piece is full of symbolism about Picasso’s upcoming appointment with eternity.
“At the end of his life Picasso is really coming face-to-face with his own mortality,” Newman explains.
“There’s something about the spectacle of the matador appearing in the arena center-stage before a moment of life and death that Picasso clearly wants to associate himself with.”
The piece is estimated at up to £18 million ($25 million) ahead of its auction at Sotheby’s London’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale on February 28.
The sale will also feature Picasso’s Femme au beret et a la robe quadrillee, which is estimated at £36 million ($50 million).
The record for Picasso stands $179.3 million, achieved in 2015 by Les Femmes d’Alger Version O.