Pablo Picasso's Tete de Femme experienced an increase of 26.7% on estimate yesterday (May 30), in Sotheby's Impressionist and Modern Art sale.
The Paris sale saw three Picasso works dominate the top five lots, once again proving the artist's perennial popularity. Christie's sold several Picasso works with strong results at the beginning of the month, in its own Impressionist and Modern Art auction on May 1.
The Sotheby's artwork is one of several entitled Tete de Femme by Picasso. This example is a portrait of his lover Dora Maar, the enigmatic rival to his famed mistress Marie-Thérése Walter. Picasso painted over a hundred portraits of Maar between 1938 and 1939, with this example noted for its unique duality, representing the conflict between his two lovers.
The characteristic work soared above its €3-5m estimate, achieving €6.3m ($7.8m).
Following closely behind Tete de Femme came another 1939 piece, Femme Assise, also from Picasso's Royan period. The painting is one of the rare portraits of Marie-Thérése Walter painted during the second world war, when her position as Picasso's muse was compromised by the arrival of Dora Maar. It sold for €3.4m ($4.2m), sitting comfortably within its pre-sale valuation of €2-4m.
The most dramatic increase of the sale was achieved by a still life from Picasso, which rose 93.2% above its estimate. Nature Morte á la Pomme et au Pichet Bleu, a 1938 oil on canvas work, went to auction with a high estimate of €700,000, but exceeded all expectations with a final realisation of €1.3m ($1.6m).
Paul Fraser Collectibles has an autographed postcard from Picasso, offering a superb entry-level addition to any collection. The item can be purchased individually, or as part of our art investment portfolio.