A Controversial Picasso Masterpiece on the Auction Block

  • Picasso’s Portrait of Angel Fernandez de Soto
  • Stephanie Meza

On June 23, the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation will make its second attempt to sell Pablo Picasso’s illustrious masterpiece Portrait of Angel Fernandez de Soto. The painting, originally scheduled to be sold in November 2006, was withdrawn from the Christie’s auction due to controversial ownership claims tracing back to the 1930s. A resolution between the claimants has finally been reached, leaving the painting to acclaimed composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, who has once again consigned the work to be sold at Christie’s. The painting is expected to fetch between $45 million and $60 million at the London auction, with all proceeds going to Webber’s foundation, which supports many causes including disaster relief, education, and the arts.

Portrait of Angel Fernandez de Soto comes from Picasso’s celebrated Blue Period, wherein shades of dismal blues are used to characterize themes of melancholy, resignation, and isolation. The painting captures the languid visage of Picasso’s friend, Angel, a gifted artist with a proclivity for self-indulgence, as he sits alone with a glass of absinthe, surrounded by the curls of smoke emitting from his pipe. The portrait not only demonstrates Picasso’s unique skill for translating emotion through brushstrokes, but it also reveals the psychological dislocation that Picasso himself experienced as a struggling artist in Paris. (+44.20.7839.9060, www.christies.com)

From Around the Web...
From a hunting knife to a copy of the Constitution, these items have become iconic of their owner…
Photo by Moscow The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts
Sergei Shchukin’s beloved art collection has not been assembled at a single site since the 1940s…
The painting depicts the martyrdom of Saint Sebastian…
MB&F and Caran d’Ache join forces to make a writing instrument that launches imagination into...
The artist’s limited-edition bicycles represent the human need for freedom and expression…
Hear Why Barbara Guggenheim taps Jean-Michel Basquiat as one to buy…
This pen is the perfect gift for the music lover in your life…
Photo by Jorge Monedero
Linley, who grew up a royal, talks about heritage, craft, and collectability…
The Profiles in History sale will also offer animation cells and props from Disney’s greatest hits…
Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie
Harry Potter fans, get ready to bid on a rare, bejeweled copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard