Cover Pablo Picasso's 1962 Buste De Femme Assise will be up for auction (Photo: Courtesy of Sotheby's)

This 1962 Buste De Femme Assise, one of the artist's finest late-period works will be part of Sotheby's cross-category auction on December 8

Pablo Picasso's masterful late-period painting Buste De Femme Assise will be the highlight of Sotheby's new, cross-category auction titled Impressionist, Modern & Contemporary Art | An Evening Sale which is scheduled to take place on December 8, 2020. Set to fetch US$8–12 million, the portrait features Picasso's second wife and muse, Jacqueline Roque, who remained with him until his death in 1973.

Painted in June 1962, the artwork belongs to an important series of portraits of Roque. His renderings of her make up the largest group of images of any woman in his life. The two met in 1952 at a pottery studio in Vallauris while Picasso was still living with Françoise Gilot, the mother of his two children. Roque was accepting of Picasso's unwielded love for the art and the couple eventually married in 1961.

Compared to his contemporaries who employed professional models or even ask strangers to be their subject, Picasso opted to ask acquaintances or those who hold a close relationship with him. It comes as no surprise that Roque's role as his muse was solidified throughout the vast body of work he produced during this time.

The painting itself is a timeless rendition that stands out from his other paintings of his wife. The artwork crystalises Roque's image at the height of Picasso's late-career, bringing life to his wife in fluid, paint-laden brushstrokes. Picasso's favourite motif—the armchair—is how he depicted Roque as well as in a stylistic device called double-profile. As a whole, Picasso crafted an image with such force and freedom that he only achieved in the last decade of his career.

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The painting follows Picasso's Femme Au Chien (1962) which was sold at Sotheby's on May 2019 for US$54.9 million, setting an auction record for a post-1960s painting by the artist. 

The December evening sale will bring together masterworks encompassing the most renowned artists from the late 19th century to the most in-demand contemporary artists working today. Held in New York, the auction will be live-streamed globally so interested participants can bid live via phone or from Sotheby's interactive bidding platform.

"Collectors continue to be less concerned with the traditional art market categories of the past, and have consistently shown that masterworks, regardless of their category, retain their high demand at the top levels of the market, and this sale is a creative opportunity to present the finest works from the 19th century to today, side by side. There is no doubt this year has presented challenges to the market, but we are excited to close out the year on high mark with this special sale, and take that momentum and the lessons learned into 2021," said Amy Cappellazzo, Chairman of Sotheby's Fine Art Division.

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