Picasso Shatters UK Auction with $57 Million Record

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One of Pablo Picasso’s most prolific Cubist portraits has smashed the UK auctions with an unexpected record – the bidding battle at London’s Sotheby’s saw the piece reach a resounding US$ 57.3 million by the night’s end. The Spanish maestro’s 'Femme assise', which last sold for US$450,000 over 40 years ago in a public sale, was initially expected to fetch around US$40 Million.

“This evening's auction result was a resounding vote of confidence for the international art market,” said Helena Newman, global co-head of Sotheby's Impressionist & Modern Art Department. “The sale was sourced globally, and sold globally to a broader international spread of buyers than this time last year - collectors hailing from right across Europe, Asia and South America.

A clear star at the Sotheby's Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale, the Cubist stunner went on to snag a spot in UK records as the most expensive painting sold in the UK for six years. The last time a painting sold around at a comparably staggering price was back in 2010 when Alberto Giacometti's 'Walking Man I' sold for US$85.7 million.

Picasso first painted the piece back in 1909, when he was only 27, during a journey to Spain. It was then where the native Spaniard produced a canvas series based on Fernande Olivier, his lover - during a time also commonly regarded as the artist’s most significant and productive in his entire career.

“Altogether there was very strong bidding across the sale and at every price point, led of course by the highest prices seen in London for over five years. I believe that tonight is a clear indicator that the market is alive and robust,” added Newman.

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