Picasso, Warhol works expected to sell for $35 million each

Fri Oct 5, 2012 4:20pm EDT
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By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A 1932 portrait by Pablo Picasso of his young lover and a pioneering 3-D Andy Warhol painting of the Statue of Liberty are expected to sell for at least $35 million each, but could fetch much more when they are auctioned next month.

The two works, Picasso's "Nature morte aux tulipes," and Warhol's "Statue of Liberty" will be the highlights of New York autumn sales at Sotheby's and Christie's.

The Picasso masterpiece is one of several renderings of his muse Marie-Thérèse Walter and considered by art experts to be one of his most important works. It carries a pre-sale estimate from $35 million to up to $50 million ahead of the November 5 sale at Sotheby's.

"The young woman, with her Grecian profile and athletic, statuesque frame, inspired Picasso's greatest achievements in a variety of media," said Simon Shaw, Sotheby's Impressionist and Modern Art department in New York.

"Nature morte aux tulipes is exceptional within the series for its double-meditation on this subject, demonstrating the influence of Surrealism on his output: the artist builds a sculpture of Marie-Thérèse, and then paints that sculpture as a sexually-charged still life, allowing him to dissect her form on many levels," he added in a statement.

Marie-Thérèse, who was just 17 years old when she met the already married Picasso, featured in many of his works and bore him a daughter in 1935.

Another painting of her, "Femme à la fenêtre" from 1936, will also be included in the Sotheby sale with a pre-sale estimate of up to $20 million.

"Nu au Plateau de Sculpteur" a 1932 painting of Marie-Thérèse was sold to anonymous buyer at a 2010 auction for $106.5 million.   Continued...

Pablo Picasso's "Nature morte aux tulipes", an oil on canvas painted in March 1932 is seen in this handout photo. REUTERS/Sothesby's/Handout