Surrealist masterpiece by Pablo Picasso to be auctioned for the first time

Christie’s hopes to capitalize on collectors’ enthusiasm for Picasso at its upcoming ‘The Art of Surrealism’ evening sale. It will present “The Open Window”, a painting by the Spanish master which remained in the same private collection for half a century. “The Open Window” was made in 1929, during the surrealist period of Pablo Picasso. The Spanish painter was never a surrealist artist in the strict sense, although he had a close relationship with this artistic movement. In the foreground of the painting on sale at Christie’s are two very abstract figures, one of which represents Picasso’s mistress and muse, Marie-Thérèse Walter.

“[T]his powerful and explosively colorful painting from the height of Picasso’s Surrealist period and two years after his clandestine love affair with Marie-Thérèse, represents a brilliant fusion of the various passions and inspirations that defined the artist’s life in the late 1920s. Savoring the secretive nature of their romance, Picasso couldn’t help but include the presence of his lover in the form of the plaster bust in this painting,” explained Olivier Camu, Vice President, Art impressionist and modern, Christie’s, in a press release.

The painting presented at Christie’s belongs to a series of studio paintings initiated by Picasso in 1926. Some of the works in this series are held in museums such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Center Pompidou in Paris.

“The Open Window” will be auctioned for the first time on March 1, during the evening sale “The Art of the Surreal”. It is estimated to fetch between £14-24 million (approximately US$19-32.3 million). That’s significantly less than the $179.4 million for which “Les femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’)” sold in 2015 at Christie’s in New York.

Pandemic or not, the market for Picasso’s works is not suffering. One of his paintings, “Woman seated near a window (Marie-Thérèse)”, is the only one to have crossed the highly symbolic threshold of $100 million in 2021. It was sold for $103.4 million during a Christie’s sale in New York in May, nearly double its original estimate.

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