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Sotheby’s to sell most important Cubist Picasso work in a generation

One of the most important Picasso works to be sold in a generation will cross the block at Sotheby’s next month.
Femme assise, painted in 1909, is an early work from Picasso’s influential Cubist period, and will be offered for sale for the first time in four decades.

As the first major cubist work by Picasso to appear at auction in almost 20 years, the painting is expected to sell for more than £30 million ($43.3 million).

“Cubism not only underpins Picasso’s entire creative output but also marks a defining moment in Modern Art,” said Helena Newman, Global Co-Head of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Department.

“Whilst major paintings from other key periods by Picasso have appeared on the market in recent years, it has been decades since a Cubist painting of this calibre has been offered at auction, since virtually all the significant works of this period are in international museums and institutions. Femme assise, painted in 1909, is one of the artist’s greatest masterpieces to be sold in a generation.”

Picasso developed the angular geometric style which became Cubism whilst staying in Spanish village called Horta de Ebrothe.

Femme assise, which followed on from his groundbreaking 1907 work Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, was inspired by Picasso’s lover and muse Fernande Olivier, who appeared in more than 60 portraits and later wrote extensively about their relationship.

The last time an early Cubist work by Picasso hit the auction block was in 1998, when his 1909 painting Femme Nue sold at Sotheby’s in New York for $11 million.

The Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening sale takes place in London on June 21.

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