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Picasso's seminal cubist “Femme Assise” auctioned at £ 43.2 million in London

Saturday, June 25th 2016 - 21:29 UTC
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Described by Sotheby's as “the greatest Cubist painting to come to the market in decades,” it broke the record for the highest price for a cubist work at any auction. Described by Sotheby's as “the greatest Cubist painting to come to the market in decades,” it broke the record for the highest price for a cubist work at any auction.
Experts say it depicts Picasso's lover and frequent model Fernande Olivier. Experts say it depicts Picasso's lover and frequent model Fernande Olivier.
Cubism, which sees subjects broken down into geometric shapes, is considered one of the most revolutionary movements in contemporary art. Cubism, which sees subjects broken down into geometric shapes, is considered one of the most revolutionary movements in contemporary art.
Taking root in the early 20th century, it is considered a precursor for contemporary abstract art, according to Helena Newman. Taking root in the early 20th century, it is considered a precursor for contemporary abstract art, according to Helena Newman.

“Femme Assise” (1909), one of Pablo Picasso's earliest Cubist paintings, has sold for £43.2 million (US$63.4 million) at a Sotheby's London auction. Described by Sotheby's as “the greatest Cubist painting to come to the market in decades,” it has broken the record for the highest price for a cubist work at any auction.

 Experts say it depicts Picasso's lover and frequent model Fernande Olivier.

“It is extremely rare,” says Helena Newman, Sotheby's global co-head of Impressionist and Modern Art department.

“The vast, vast, vast majority of the works of the Cubist period of this importance went into museums of the world many years ago because Picasso's Cubism has for many decades been considered one of the most important, groundbreaking periods -- not just for him, but for the whole of what was to come in terms of modern art.”

Cubism, which sees subjects broken down into geometric shapes and reassembled in an abstract way, is considered one of the most revolutionary movements in contemporary art.

Taking root in the early 20th century, it is considered a precursor for contemporary abstract art.

The current owner, whose identity has not been disclosed, first bought Femme Assise at a 1973 Sotheby's auction for £340,000 (US$486,000).

While this is not as high as the price of Picasso's record-setting Femmes dÁlger, which sold for US$149 million in 2015, healthy competition was anticipated since it is a “Blue Chip museum-quality Cubist work.”

“There hasn't been a painting of this importance at auction in potentially a generation,” Newman says.

”I think what people are excited about is that sense of being upfront with Picasso at the very moment of his creative process. It's that sense of the potential of being able to have a piece of that moment of what defines Picasso.

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  • Conqueror

    That's amazing. What are Sotheby's fees? 10%? £4.32 million going into the UK economy!

    Jun 26th, 2016 - 01:41 pm 0
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