Highly anticipated auction to include one of Picasso’s earliest cubist paintings

Three iconic portraits of women are expected to fetch a total of nearly £68 million at Sotheby’s London Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale tomorrow (21 June 2016).

After at least a decade off the market, the three artworks by Pablo Picasso, Amedeo Modigliani and Auguste Rodin will go under the hammer alongside twenty-two other pieces including paintings, sculptures and works on paper. Total sales on the night are estimated to reach £77 million, which means the three highlighted works will account for roughly 87.5% of the auction’s value.

Heralded as Picasso’s ‘seminal work’ and one of his earliest Cubist paintings, ‘Femme Assise’ (1909) was last sold at auction at Sotheby’s in 1973 for £340,000. It is thought to depict the features of Picasso’s lover and frequent model, Fernande Olivier. Helena Newman, Sotheby’s Chairman of Impressionist & Modern Art Europe, expects there will be healthy competition for the piece tomorrow evening. “There hasn’t been a painting of this importance at auction in potentially a generation,” she says. The work is predicted to attract a sale price of upwards of £29 million.

The second highly-anticipated work is ‘Jeanne Hébuterne (au foulard)’ (1919) by Modigliani, which dates from the year before his death. It depicts the artist’s lover who committed suicide the day after the artist’s passing. The piece is estimated to sell for more than £27 million, a far cry from its £2 million price tag when it was first sold at Christie’s London in 1986.

Rodin’s sculpture ‘Ève, grand modèle – version sans rocher à la base carrée’, carries an estimate of up to £12 million. Conceived in 1881 and cast between 1925-1940, the piece was owned by Sylvester Stallone for around 14 years before the film star sold it at Sotheby’s New York for around £680,000 in 1998.

The Sotheby’s sale also includes works by Paul Gauguin, Edvard Munch and Joan Miró but all eyes will be on the trio of blue chip works at 7:00pm tomorrow evening.


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