The first day of summer will also be the first time in over four decades that Picasso’s Femme Assise(1909) will be up for grabs. On June 21st, the artists’ early Cubist work will be up for auction at Sotheby’s London. In 1973, the piece was purchased for an estimated $833,000. Today, the anonymous seller is expected to pass it on was around fifty times their purchase value at around $45 million.
Helena Newman, Sotheby’s global co-head of Impressionist and modern art, explained in a statement to the press that, “It is several decades since a Cubist painting of this caliber has been offered at auction, since virtually all the significant works of this period are in international museums and institutions.”
Janie Cohen, a Picasso expert and director of the Fleming Museum of Art at the University of Vermont, told the TAN, “This is indeed a big deal to see this early Cubist work come onto the market… The palette of the painting reflects the palette of the Spanish countryside, as well as of Cézanne’s late landscapes painted in Provence. The limited but bright palette would become more subdued and monochromatic as Cubism developed.”
Picasso’s work is no stranger to steep price tags, the artist currently holds the record for the most expensive artwork ever sold at auction. The record was made last year when Les Femmes d’Alger (Version O) sold for $179.4 million at Christie’s New York.
Femme Assise will headline Sotheby’s June Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale in London. The painting will be on view in the galleries of Sotheby’s Hong Kong from May 26 through 30 and Sotheby’s London from June 10 through 21.