Picasso Popeye photograph sells for £12,600 at Bonhams

Yesterday in London, Bonhams held a sale of collectible photographs with a number of genuinely classic black and white prints on offer.

One of these, which we looked at in the run up to the sale, was a photograph of Laurence Olivier taken on the actor's 80th birthday in 1987 by the celebrated British photographer David Bailey. Bailey recalled being apprehensive before the shoot.

"I thought: 'How am I going to deal with this man?' But he drank two bottles of champagne and his nurse had to help him up the stairs. He was completely unpretentious and a very nice bloke."

Laurence Olivier (1907-1989), the famous British actor, director and producer
(Click to enlarge)

The picture, which depicts Olivier clutching a glass of the spirit, sold for £8,400 beating its estimate of £4,000-6,000.

However, this was not the top lot. That honour went to a classic image of Picasso taken by Andre Villers. Villers met Picasso in 1953 when he stopped to take the artist's photograph in the street, and the pair became close friends.

Villers has held several exhibitions in Europe and his prints appear in the collections at the Picasso Museums in Paris and Barcelona, amongst other places. Picasso's works are, of course, amongst the most valuable in the world, with one recently reclaiming the top spot.

Picasso Popeye photo by Andre Villers
Picasso Popeye (photo by Andre Villers)

Despite a low estimate of £1,000-1,500, the photo captured the imagination of collectors and perhaps investors and brought £12,600 - a testament to the Picasso's iconic status even in works which were not created by the artist himself.

Picasso enthusiasts may be interested to know that a rare self-portrait by 'Picasso's Muse' Francoise Gilot is on the market.


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