Picasso’s $19 Million Erotic Nude With Leering Musketeer Leads Christie’s $208 Million London Sales | BLOUIN ARTINFO
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Picasso’s $19 Million Erotic Nude With Leering Musketeer Leads Christie’s $208 Million London Sales

Pablo Picasso’s ‘Mousquetaire et nu assis’ sold at Christie’s London "Mousquetaire et nu assis," 1967, Picasso (1881-1973, Spain). Oil and Ripolin on canvas. Estimate: £12,000,000-18,000,000. Achieved £13.7 Mln
(Christie's Images Ltd )

Picasso’s portrait of his naked wife Jacqueline with a leering musketeer – possibly the artist himself - was the $19 million star lot of the Christie’s London sales.

“Mousquetaire et nu assis,” from 1967, one of the first appearances of the virile musketeer in Picasso’s works, had a formal price with fees of £13.7 million, against a hammer-price estimate of £12/18 million. Jacqueline appeared in many of Picasso’s late-period paintings, usually with her shock of dark hair and almond-shaped eyes. The groping musketeer is seen as a portrait or allegory for Picasso himself. The painting was the cover lot of the catalogue.

The £149.6 million ($208.8 million) total was the second-highest for a Christie’s Impressionist, Modern and Surreal auctions in February. Christie’s said the 97 lots were 78% sold, 91% by value. Nearly $160 million came up in less than two hours in the Imps and Mods sale.

Dealers said prices were often mid-estimate respectable and Christie’s was helped by the presence of many big names announced in recent weeks –not perhaps likely to set records as stellar prices and yet museum quality, with no less than nine Picassos. Five of the 10 top lots were by the Spanish artist.

The second-biggest lot by value came two later after the musketeer, with Edgar Degas’s “Dans les coulisses (In the Wings)” making £8.99 million. This also fell between an estimate, in this case £8/12 million. The pastel-on-linen work was drawn in about 1882 to 1885. Degas works that are most highly valued are those related to his interest in dancing, with pastels doing well; the one at Christie’s was finely executed if not directly displaying his fascination for performing female dancers. It is unusual in not showing the ballet itself but two figures watching the performance from the side of the stage. The woman is a performer and the male onlooker is probably an “abonné,” a wealthy subscriber who is granted privileged access to the backstage area.

Picasso’s “Figure” made £8.33 million; Claude Monet’s “Prairie à Giverny” fetched £7.54 million and his “Vetheuil” also £7.54 million; René Magritte’s “Le groupe silencieux” £7.2 million; another Picasso, “Femme se coiffant,” £6.75 million; and Wassily Kandinsky’s, “Studie für Landscaft (Dünaberg)” £6.75 million.

“Prairie à Giverny,” painted in 1885, was estimated at £7 million to £10 million, and Monet’s “Pivoines (Peonies),” executed two years later, was forecast to reach £3.5 million to £5.5 million and went for $4.5 million.

It was not all plain sailing. The highest-profile failure was by André Derain (1880-1954). His much-vaunted “Londres: la Tamise au pont de Westminster” was predicted to do well in Britain because of its local scene. It was estimated at £6/9 million and failed to sell.

 

 

 

 

 

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