Picasso's Portrait of His Mistress to Fetch Pounds 29m
Usborne, David, The Independent (London, England)
One of Pablo Picasso's largest and most important portraits of his long-time mistress and artistic inspiration, Dora Maar, is to be auctioned at Sotheby's in New York this spring.
The auction house said yesterday that it expected to draw bids of as much as $50m (pounds 29m).
The three-quarter length portrait, Dora Maar with Cat, was described by Charles Moffett, the vice-chairman of Sotheby's, as "unquestionably one of Picasso's most extraordinary portrayals of the woman who for nearly a decade was his muse, model and lover". It has not been seen publicly for 40 years.
The picture, painted in 1941 and measuring 50x37in (127x94cm), will be put under the gavel on 3 May in New York as part of the auction house's annual Impressionists and Modern Art sale. It depicts his lover seated, her head characteristically adorned with an extravagant hat with feathers, with a small black cat looking on.
Scholars of Picasso have long credited Dora Maar, who was herself a well-regarded photographer, with inspiring Picasso during one of his most turbulent and creative periods when first the civil war wracked his native Spain and then the Second World War broke out in Europe.
The announcement by Sotheby's comes a day after the opening of a widely praised exhibition dedicated to the couple's creative relationship at the Picasso Museum in Paris. …