Surrealist masterpiece by Pablo Picasso auctioned for the first time

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Christie’s hopes to capitalize on collectors’ enthusiasm for Picasso at its forthcoming The Art of Surreal evening sale. She will show La fenêtre ouverte, a painting by the Spanish master that has been in the same private collection for half a century. “La fenêtre ouverte” was created in 1929, during Pablo Picasso’s surrealist period. The Spanish painter was never a surrealist artist in the strict sense, although he was closely related to this artistic movement. In the foreground of the painting, for sale at Christie’s, are two highly abstract figures, one of which represents Picasso’s lover and muse, Marie-Thérèse Walter.

“[T]His powerful and color-explosive painting, from the height of Picasso’s Surrealist period to two years after his secret love affair with Marie-Thérèse, represents a brilliant fusion of the diverse passions and inspirations that defined the artist’s life in the late 1920s. Picasso enjoyed the secretive nature of their romance and couldn’t help but include the presence of his beloved in the form of the plaster bust in this painting,” said Olivier Camu, vice-chairman, Impressionist and Modern Art, Christie’s, in a press release.

The painting on display at Christie’s is part of a series of studio paintings that Picasso initiated in 1926. Some of the works in this series are in museums such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Center Pompidou in Paris.

“La fenêtre ouverte” will be auctioned for the first time on March 1st during the evening auction “The Art of Surreal”. It’s estimated to fetch between £14 million and £24 million (about $19 million to $32.3 million). That’s significantly less than the $179.4 million that “Les femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’)” sold for at Christie’s in New York in 2015.

Pandemic or not, the market for Picasso artworks is not suffering. One of his paintings, Femme assise près d’une fenêtre (Marie-Thérèse), is the only one to have surpassed the iconic $100 million mark in 2021. It sold for $103.4 million at a Christie’s auction in New York in May, nearly double its original estimate.

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