Picasso masterpiece sells for almost US$140m in auction

NEW YORK, Nov 9: Pablo Picasso’s 1932 masterpiece “Femme A La Montre” sold for almost US$140 million at an auction in New York on Wednesday. 

It is the second most expensive work by Picasso ever sold at auction, fetching US$139.4 million, auction house Sotheby’s said. In 2015, “Les Femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’)” by Picasso was auctioned at Christie’s in New York for US$179 million. 

Sotheby’s said the 1932 painting, a portrait of his lover Marie-Thérèse Walter, was bought by collector Emily Fisher Landau in 1968. It hung above the fireplace in her New York flat for many years. 

It was not initially disclosed who bought the painting on Wednesday.

Together with the Picasso, around 120 other works are to be sold at the two-day auction – ahead of the traditional autumn sale next week.

Landau received a large insurance sum at the end of the 1960s after a jewellery theft and began buying art. Over the years, she built up one of the world’s most important collections of modern art, with works by Georgia O’Keeffe, Agnes Martin, Keith Haring, Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly and Robert Mapplethorpe, among others. 

For a time, Landau also ran a museum in the New York borough of Queens. She died in March at the age of 102.