Pablo Picasso painting of his teenage mistress sells for £25.2 million
At Sotheby’s auction in London on Tuesday, a Pablo Picasso painting of his mistress and model Marie-Therese Walter titled “La Lecture” went for a cool £25.2 million ($40.7 million). The portrait of the teenage mistress was earlier expected to sell for between £12 million and £18 million. The painting shows Marie-Therese Walter asleep in a chair. The Spanish artist met this 17-year-old blonde outside a Paris Metro station in 1927. Picasso, aged 45 at that time, approached her and said, “I am Picasso. You and I are going to do great things together.” Sotheby’s cited that there were up to seven bidders in the race to buy La Lecture, which went to some anonymous telephone bidder. The Picasso was the star on Tuesday, but it could not match the excitement as seen last year.
Last year, we saw some record-breaking auctions. A life-size bronze sculpture of a man by Alberto Giacometti was sold at Sotheby’s auction house in London for $104.3 million. It set the world record price for an artwork at auction. The previous record was $104.1 million for a 1905 Picasso, “Boy With a Pipe (The Young Apprentice)” at Sotheby’s in New York in 2004.
Later in 2010, a 78-year-old Pablo Picasso painting, auctioned at Christie’s Evening Sale of Impressionist and Modern Art, fetched a whopping $106.5 million, thereby breaking the previous world record for any work of art sold at auction.