Picasso’s groundbreaking 1909 cubist portrait, Femme Assise, will go to auction at Sotheby’s London on June 21. The painting—reportedly inspired by his lover and frequent model Fernande Olivier—depicts a woman in angular green, gold, and beige shapes, and is part of an innovative canvas series that helped propel Picasso toward a revolutionary new style that would be called Cubism. Femme Assise has been in the possession of a private collector since 1973, when Sotheby’s first sold the painting for about £340,000.
“It has been decades since a Cubist painting of this caliber has been offered at auction, since virtually all the significant works of this period are in international museums and institutions,” said Helena Newman, global cohead of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art department, in a statement to the press. “Femme Assise is one of the artist’s greatest masterpieces to be sold in a generation.”
Femme Assise will headline Sotheby’s June Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale in London and is expected to sell for upwards of $45 million. The painting will be on view in the galleries of Sotheby’s Hong Kong from May 26 through 30 and Sotheby’s London from June 10 through 21. (sothebys.com)