The auction house had earlier estimated Pablo Picasso’s “Woman Sitting Near a Window (Marie-Therese)” would sell for $55 million.

Gallery workers display an artwork titled 'Femme assise près d'une fenêtre (Marie-Thérèse)' by Spanish painter Pablo Picasso during a photocall at Christie’s auction house in central London on on April 22, 2021
Gallery workers display an artwork titled 'Femme assise près d'une fenêtre (Marie-Thérèse)' by Spanish painter Pablo Picasso during a photocall at Christie’s auction house in central London on on April 22, 2021 (AFP)

Pablo Picasso's "Woman Sitting Near a Window (Marie-Therese)” has sold for $103.4 million at Christie’s in New York.

The painting, completed in 1932, was sold after 19 minutes of bidding for $90 million, which rose to $103.4 million when fees and commissions were added, the auction house said on Tuesday. 

Christie's had estimated the painting would sell for $55 million.

Art industry back on track

The sale confirms the vitality of the art market despite the Covid-19 pandemic – but also the special status of Picasso, who was born in 1881 and died in 1973.

The generally good performance of Thursday's auctions, totalling $481 million, "signals a real return to normal and also a message that the art market is really back on track," said Bonnie Brennan, president of Christie's America.

The painting, depicting Picasso's young mistress and muse, Marie-Therese Walter, was acquired only eight years ago at a London sale for  about $44.8 million (28.6 million pounds), less than half the price offered Thursday.

Five works by the Spanish painter have now crossed the symbolic threshold of $100 million.

Even before this sale, he was already alone at the top of this very exclusive club with four paintings, including "Women of Algiers", which holds the record for a Picasso, at $179.4 million in 2015.

Record breaking sale

This is the first time in two years that a work has broken the $100 million mark since an 1890 Claude Monet "Meules" painting reached $110.7 million at Sotheby's, also in New York.

On Tuesday, the painting "In This Case" by the American painter Jean-Michel Basquiat sold for $93.1 million at Christie's in the first of the major spring sales, one of the two most important events in the auction world.

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Source: AFP