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Pablo Picasso’s 1932 masterpiece fetches $139 million at auction

Pablo Picasso’s 1932 masterpiece Woman with a Watch has sold for a staggering $139 million (£113 million) at auction, making it the second highest price ever paid for a Picasso painting, according to Sotheby’s. The sale also made it the most valuable work of art sold at auction this year.

The painting, which depicts Picasso’s French model and lover Marie-Therese Walter, had a pre-sale estimate of $120 million. Formerly owned by the late art collector Emily Fisher Landau, who purchased the painting in 1968, it has now been acquired by an anonymous buyer.

Pablo Picasso’s 1932 masterpiece fetches $139 million at auction

Femme a la Montre depicts Walter sitting in a throne-like chair with a bright blue background. Known as Picasso’s “golden muse,” Walter was 17 when she met the 45-year-old Picasso in Paris. Their relationship developed into a secret affair while Picasso was still married to Ukrainian ballerina Olga Khokhlova.

Walter became a recurring theme in Picasso’s art, providing the inspiration for many of his paintings, including the 1932 work Femme Nue Couchee (Reclining Nude), which sold for $67.5 million at auction in 2022.

Picasso’s most expensive painting, Les Femmes d’Alger, fetched a whopping $179.3 million at Christie’s in 2015.

Born in Malaga, Spain in 1881, Picasso moved to Paris in 1904 and became one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. His prolific career spanned eighty years, during which time he produced a staggering 150,000 works, experimenting with a wide range of styles and subjects. His groundbreaking Cubism movement revolutionized the way art represented objects and people, depicting them simultaneously from multiple angles.

Despite his artistic achievements, Picasso’s personal life has come under intense scrutiny in recent years, with allegations of cruelty, female indulgence and coercive behavior damaging his reputation.

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