Picasso's Buste de Femme sells for €3.4 million
The painting sold significantly more than what was estimated
On Monday, Pablo Picasso's painting Buste de Femme garnered €3.4 million ($3.65 million). It was sold at the Van Ham auction house in Cologne. The painting was created in 1971, two years before the acclaimed artist passed away. Art historians identified the woman in the painting as Picasso's second wife, Jacqueline Roque.
Jacqueline was Picasso's second wife and one of his muses. She began to appear in his paintings in 1954 and is characterised by an exaggerated neck, a feline face and distortions of her features. Her dark eyes and eyebrows, high cheekbones and classical profile soon became familiar symbols in his paintings.
Buste de Femme was originally from Roque's estate but was auctioned on behalf of a German private collector. It was estimated to fetch between €1.5 to 2.4 million ($1.6 - 2.6 million). This is partly because Picasso's later works are generally valued less highly on the art market.
The auction house had launched a PR campaign to help drive up the price of Buste de Femme. It had the work displayed in Berlin, Munich and Hamburg before the auction. According to Van Ham, it was the first time in nearly 25 years that a major work by Picasso went up for auction in Germany.
According to the auction house, fifteen international bidders took part in the sale by telephone. The Swiss collector who won the bidding paid €4.35m, including commission, the highest price reached at a German auction so far this year. This is more than twice the low estimate and a record for the auction house. However, it was still a bargain compared to the record-breaking $179.4 million (some 160 million euros) paid for Picasso's The Women of Algiers in 2015.