Picasso auction guide

Wuzzon da Block?

There are some nice offerings at the fall auctions in NY, but before we get to the paintings, it is noteworthy that for the first time, at least of which I’m aware, prints have made one of the storied evening sales.  Both their low estimates exceed the million $ barrier, and both are at Christie’s, consisting of an unsigned Minotauromachie and a signed impression of  La Femme qui Pleure, I (Bl.1333), the final (7th) state: What’s even more remarkable, it seems to me, is the unusually large number of really nice paintings, eleven in the Christie’s evening sale alone. At Sotheby’s, there’s the fascinating 1927 Guitare accroché au mur: and the huge late Picasso painting, one of the nicer ones, […]

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Picasso Orphans

Deux vieux lisant une lettre, 1962  Earlier today, while shelving some recent auction catalogues, I started leafing through one of them to the dog-eared pages which marked the Picassos, when a wonderful drawing hit me again.   Now don’t call me a grumpy old man, but I find it surprising when every now and then a great work falls through the cracks and the art market doesn’t notice.  Take these two old men.  Sure, this is not a drawing of a woman, much less a naked woman,  and it doesn’t have a drop of color.  It’s not large (but at 35 cm, not that small either) and it’s not an oil, just a lowly pencil and paper.   But the above

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Role Reversal?

Lately I’ve come to think that the market and I see things differently.  For example, I would have significantly altered the estimates on the Picasso lots in the recent Sotheby’s New York Imp/Mod Evening Sale.  The giveaway of the night, and in my opinion the best Picasso oil of the season, is the above 1930 Femme.  This surrealist masterpiece was hugely underpriced and should have easily fetched three times the $8M it went for.  At least two people must have had a glimmer of its value, since it nicely exceeded its $3-5M estimate.  But, in my opinion, this painting is one of the very best of Picasso’s “meat eaters”, rivaling even the MOMA’s great La Baigneuse, which you know so

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Wuzzon on da Block?

1932 was a great year for Picasso.  He had just turned 50, which must have made him want to take stock.  He was also commemorating that birthday by personally curating his first museum show, which took place that year in Zurich and which has now been largely reassembled in an exhibit at the same museum, Kunsthaus Zürich, ending January 30–as far as I know the only artist’s show ever to be revived (a nice catalogue accompanies the show entitled Picasso by Picasso: His First Museum Exhibition 1932).  Picasso had long since emerged as the preeminent artist of his time, but this year, as if to underscore his supremacy, he had revved up into high gear and was cranking out one masterpiece

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