$28.6m Picasso leads Sotheby's Impressionist & Modern Art Evening sale

The Impressionist & Modern Art Evening sale this February will feature an iconic painting by Pablo Picasso of his muse Marie-Thérèse, La Lecture, painted in 1932. Picasso's iconic paintings of his lover Marie-Thérèse Walter are regarded by many as reigning supreme as the emblems of love, sex and desire in 20th century art.

The sensual La Lecture, which is one of the most recognisable images among this landmark series from the beginning of 1932, essentially introduced the young woman as an extraordinary new presence in Picasso's life and his art.

This exceptional work is one in a series of defining paintings in the artist's oeuvre in which he depicts his lover asleep in an armchair, the curves of her body transformed into a sumptuous confection with colourful swirls and sweeping arabesques.

La Lecture belongs to a group of works painted in January 1932 in anticipation of the major retrospective that Picasso was planning that coming June. Depicting his model asleep in an armchair, with an open book on her lap, La Lecture is among Picasso's most sensuous portrayals of his lover and is expected to sell for £12m-18m (up to $28.6m).

Picasso painting La Lecture
Picasso's painting La Lecture (£12m-18m)

Another exceptional work in the sale is Marino Marini's L'Idea del Cavaliere, a monumental bronze sculpture on the theme of horse and rider, hand-painted in bright red and black by the artist.

Alberto Giacometti is represented in the sale by two remarkable depictions of his brother Diego, in bronze and in oil. The auction will also present a very strong group of Surrealist works, including an oil and exceptional gouaches by Magritte, as well as paintings by Miró and Tanguy.

Sotheby's evening sale takes place on February 8 in London.


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