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Pablo Picasso's "Nature morte aux tulipes" sells for $41.5 million at Sotheby's in New York
A visitor views Pablo Picasso's Femme a la Fenetre at a pre-auction show organized by Sotheby's in Moscow, Russia. The exhibit preceded sales sessions of Russian art that were conducted by Sotheby's in London and New York this fall. AP Photo/Misha Japaridze.


NEW YORK (AFP).- An erotically charged Picasso oil painting of his mistress alongside tulips and fruit sold Thursday for $41.5 million on an otherwise anemic night for high-end art in New York.

"Nature morte aux tulipes," painted in 1932, was the star of Sotheby's Impressionist and modern art sale in Manhattan. The pre-sale estimate for the work had been between $35 million and $50 million.

The painting depicts the head of Marie-Therese Walter, who was Picasso's lover and famous muse, poised over a suggestive flower arrangement.

Its sale was one of the few bright spots for Sotheby's, with 30 percent of lots failing to sell and the total haul of the evening amounting to $163 million -- below the low end of the overall $169-245 million estimate. This followed a similar performance at the Christie's auction on Wednesday.

Another of the Marie-Therese series offered by Sotheby's, "Femme a la fenetre (Marie-Therese)," sold for $17.2 million, inside the $15-20 million estimate.

Other successes included the $12.1 million paid for "Champ de ble" by Claude Monet, well above the $5-7 million estimate.

Paul Cezanne's "Femme nue debout" went for $5.3 million, inside the estimate, and Henry Moore's sculpture "Two piece reclining figure No. 1" sold for $4.7 million, at the high end of its estimate.

However, numerous works failed to find buyers, including Picasso's "Plant de tomate," estimated to sell for $10-15 million, and the same artist's "Femme a la robe verte," which was listed at $6-8 million. Cezanne's "La femme a l'hermine," which had been hoped to fetch between $5 million and $7 million, also flopped.

On Wednesday, Christie's in New York sold a Monet water lily painting for $43.8 million and saw a painting by Wassily Kandinsky sell for an auction record of $23 million. However, the auction overall was seen as relatively muted, with a third of works not selling.

Next week, the rival auction houses hold their contemporary art sales.

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1994-2012 Agence France-Presse






Today's News

November 9, 2012

Pablo Picasso's "Nature morte aux tulipes" sells for $41.5 million at Sotheby's in New York

Rare well was discovered in Israel, one of the first revealed dating to the Stone Age

Wassily Kandinsky's Studie fr Improvisation 8 sets a world auction record for the artist

Sotheby's Autumn Auction of American Art to be held on 29 November 2012 in New York

Dante Gabriel Rossetti's The Bower Garden to be offered at Sotheby's London British and Irish Art Sale

Bonhams auction of African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian art features rare discoveries unseen for decades

Fritz Winter's paintings juxtaposed with Lszl Moholy-Nagy's photograms in new exhibition

Israel president Shimon Peres opens new Jewish Museum and Tolerance Centre in Moscow

Parisian, identified as Sofiane B., probed for selling fakes of 'Indian Picasso'

Turkish-Italian archaeological team explores site in the city of Karkemish on Syria-Turkey border

Meet Xenoceratops: Journal of Earth Sciences announces Canada's newest plant-eating horned dinosaur

Century of press photos from the International Herald Tribune newspaper goes up for auction

David Zwirner re-opens Chelsea gallery space with exhibition by artist Diana Thater

Cash-strapped UK officials sell Henry Moore statue

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts announces acquisitions made during September

Exhibition of new paintings by New York-based artist Sean Landers opens at Galerie Rodolphe Janssen

Contents of the Scottish home of the Premier Baron of England for sale at Bonhams

Contents of Killochan Castle, Ayrshire, sell at Bonhams for £364,000

The Hayward Gallery presents major exhibition of Chinese installation and performance art

Archaeologists discover Thracian golden jewelry

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