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Picasso's "La Lecture" to be sold in Pairs

01-21-2011 09:52 BJT

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A major painting of Pablo Picasso that has not been seen publicly for the last seventy years will go under the hammer in London on February 8th. The sensual 1932 portrait of his young mistress Marie-Therese Walter, which captures his romantic obsession with her, went on display at Sotheby's in Paris on Wednesday ahead of the auction next month.

Marie-Therese was one of a series of lovers and muses who inspired Picasso throughout his prolific eight-decade career.

It was the first public showing in Europe in some 80 years of "La Lecture", or "Reading."

Thomas Bompard, Impressionist & Modern Art Dept.,said, "This painting was shown to the public during an exhibition in June 1932. So Picasso painted it between December 1931 and January 1932 for an exhibition in June the same year. And then we lose the trail of the painting until 1940 when we find it again in New York at the Valentine gallery. Since that time, the painting went into several prestigious American private collections. Each of these collectors had never agreed to lend the painting for the numerous retrospectives organized around the world."

Property of an American private collector, the 65.5 by 51 centimeters painting is expected to fetch between 14 and 21 million Euros, and maybe more.

Thomas Bompard, said,"To my point of view, the only thing that could prevent this oil on panel painting from breaking a new record is its size. There are portraits of Marie-Therese Walter of bigger size, so I don't think that this painting will go over 100 million Dollars. Now, it has all the assets to go over its estimation, that means being auctioned for about 30 million Euros."

Two other paintings by Picasso, "Portrait d'Olga" and "Nu couche" will also be sold during the auction.

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