Picasso ballet costume design comes to Bonhams with $34,480 estimate

A costume design by Picasso for Diaghilev's ballet Parade is set to star at Bonhams' Impressionist & Modern Art auction on April 4 in London.

Etude de costume pour 'le Magicien Chinois' dans le ballet Parade is estimated to achieve £18,000-22,000.

Sergei Diaghilev, the founder of the Ballets Russes, approached Picasso in January 1917 to design the set and costumes for the one-act ballet.

Picasso got to work the following month. The sketch details the reverse of a red Chinese jacket with gold and silver details.

The design was displayed on posters on the London Underground during 1919 ahead of the ballet company's summer season in the UK capital's Leicester Square.

Picasso was apparently entertained by the moustaches and other amendments made to the posters by Underground users.

The market for Picasso is booming, and it's not just his artwork that is selling well.

The PFC40 Autograph Index reveals that the artist's autograph has soared in value from £1,400 ($2,210) to £3,950 ($6,230) since 2000, at a rate of 9.89% pa.

A 1918 handwritten signed letter by Picasso made $5,000 at a US auction in November 2011, 233.3% above its $1,500 estimate.

Picasso costume design
Just lacking a moustache...

We have a superb Picasso autographed postcard available today for £3,950 (approx. $6,230), which could prove a wonderful long-term investment, considering the historical performance of his signature.

A watercolour version of the Picasso lot, displaying the costume from the front, is currently on display at Tate Britain in London.

Paul Fraser Collectibles will bring you the results of the auction next month.

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