A record price has been achieved for a blue period Picasso at Sotheby’s in New York. La Gommeuse, painted in Paris in 1901, sold for $67.5m (£45m) at Sotheby’s, as the highlight of their Impressionist & Modern sale.
The painting which depicts a cabaret artist, had a second painting on the reverse of the canvas showing an erotic image of the artist’s friend Pere Manach, intended as a gift for the anarchist who shared the artist’s studio flat in the Boulevard de Clichy in Paris. Earlier this year, Picasso’s Women of Algiers became the most expensive painting to sell at auction, going for $160m (£102.6m) at Christie’s in New York.
The painting belonged to the American billionaire Bill Koch who purchased the work for $3 million in 1984. Sotheby’s also sold Koch’s Monet “Nympheas” (water lilies) study in oil for $33.85 million It was one of 47 works on offer, one third of the art on offer was unsold. Next week Christie’s and Sotheby’s will auction more after a successful Spring season which netted $2.6 billion for the auction houses. Look out for a major Modigliani valued at $100 million, and a pop art masterpiece from Roy Lichtenstein estimated at $80 million. Both go under the hammer at Christie’s.
Other Picasso sales records include:
• Women of Algiers – $179.4m (2015)
• Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust – $106.5m (2010)
• Boy With a Pipe – $104.1m (2004)
• Dora Maar au Chat – $95.2m (2006)
• La Gommeuse – $67.5m (2015)
• Buste de Femme – $67.4m (2015)
• Femme aux Bras Croises – $55m (2000)
Photo: Courtesy Sotheby’s ©2015