A 1932 Pablo Picasso painting of his mistress has been auctioned for a record $106.5 million. Nude, Green Leaves and Bust, which had a pre-sale estimate between $70 million and $90 million, was sold at Christie’s auction house last week to an unidentified telephone bidder.
The striking work of Picasso’s muse and mistress Marie-Therese Walter has been exhibited in the United States only once, in 1961, in Los Angeles to commemorate the 80th anniversary of Picasso’s birth.
The painting, which measures more than 5 feet by 4 feet, shows a reclining nude figure with an image of Picasso in the background looking over her. It had belonged to the late California art patron Frances Lasker Brody, who bought it in the 1950s. It had been kept in her family since.
Part of the sale proceeds will benefit the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, Calif., where Brody was on the board. The previous record for a work of art at auction was $104.3 million for Walking Man I, a sculpture by Alberto Giacometti sold on February 3, 2010, at Sotheby’s in London.
The previous high for a Picasso work was $104.2 million for Boy With a Pipe (The Young Apprentice).
Last week, another Picasso work was slated to sell at Sotheby’s auction house. Woman In A Hat, Bust is a 1965 work inspired by Jacqueline Roque, the last love of Picasso’s life. It was estimated to fetch between $8 million to $12 million.
The work hung for 50 years in the Manhattan apartment of Patricia Kennedy Lawford, a sister of former President John F. Kennedy. It’s being sold by her estate.