Source: Eugène Delacroix
Picasso masterpiece “Les Femmes d’Alger” went on show for the first time in Hong Kong Wednesday ahead of an auction where it is tipped to smash the world record price for a painting.
The 1955 piece depicts women in a harem and is the final work in a 15-painting series which pays homage to the 19th century artist Delacroix, who Picasso admired.
“It’s one of the great Picassos, period, and it’s one of the last great Picassos that has been in private hands. In terms of Picasso’s quality, it’s at the absolutely top end. It’s an extremely important piece.”
— Derek Gillman, chairman of Christie’s impressionist and modern art department
It is billed to fetch an estimated $140 million when it goes on sale at Christie’s in New York in May — but the auction house says the price could well go higher.
The current world record for any painting sold at auction is for Francis Bacon’s “Three Studies of Lucian Freud“, which sold for $142 million in 2013, also at Christie’s in New York.
“There aren’t that many museums that can afford works at that level… Increasingly, works that might in the past have gone into museum collections have gone into private collections.”
“It’s one of the great Picassos, period, and it’s one of the last great Picassos that has been in private hands,” Derek Gillman, chairman of Christie’s impressionist and modern art department, told AFP.
“In terms of Picasso’s quality, it’s at the absolutely top end. It’s an extremely important piece,” he said.
The painting was unveiled as part of a preview at Christie’s in Hong Kong ahead of the New York sale and it will also go on show in London later this month.
The piece is inspired by a Delacroix painting of a similar name.