Andrew Lloyd Webber to sell £40m Picasso

A Picasso painting, created during the artist's 'Blue Period' is to go on sale this summer with an estimate of $40m.

The portrait of Angel Fernandez de Soto is better known as The Absinthe Drinker, in recognition of the large glass of the drink which sits in front of the lugubrious subject. That subject, de Soto, was a painter like Picasso, who shared his studio.

The painting is being offered for sale by Andrew Lloyd Webber, or rather his Art Foundation. He had originally moved to make the sale back in 2006, but the piece was withdrawn from sale following legal challenges over ownership.

As these have been resolved, the piece will be offered on June 23 with an estimate of £30m-40m. He paid $29.2m for it in 1995, so even £30m ($45.9) would prove it to have been a great investment, whilst £40m ($61.2m) would make it the most expensive artwork sold in Europe.

Christie's described the work, which was painted in 1903, as one of the most important pieces of art to come to auction in recent decades.

Elsewhere, a Picasso with an even higher guide price Nude, Green Leaves and Bust will go on offer in May in the US, also with the assistance of Christie's.

Collectors who are impressed by Picasso, but cannot afford eight figure prices, may be interested to know that an original work by 'Picasso's Muse' Francoise Gilot is currently on offer.


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