The portrait of Picasso's muse, Marie-Thérèse Walter, titled "Femme au Béret Mauve", will be on public view for the first time in 37 years at Bonhams' New York auction in May 2021
Pablo Picasso's Femme au Béret Mauve will be headlining the Bonhams Impressionist and Modern Art sale in New York on May 13, 2021. The major Picasso portrait was painted in 1937, during one of the artist's most fruitful years when he also produced, Guernica and Weeping Woman.
Femme au Béret Mauve is a serene depiction of one of Picasso's greatest muse, Marie-Thérèse Walter, who was also the mother of their daughter Maya Widmaier-Picasso. The painting has not been seen in public since it was bought in 1984 from a New York gallery by the current owners. It's estimated to fetch US$10,000,000–15,000,000 and will be on display in Hong Kong on April 1 as well as in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Paris and New York.
"This bright, joyous portrait of Marie-Thérèse Walter exudes stability and calm at a time when Picasso’s personal life was in turmoil and all of Europe was living under the shadow of impending war. Family life with Marie-Thérèse and their daughter Maya represented a refuge of serenity and sensuality so wonderfully captured in this work," says Molly Ott Ambler, Bonhams senior vice-president and head of impressionist, modern, European and American art in America.
The painting itself is as colourful as Picasso's life. In the year that it's painted, the artist spent his time divided between two women, one being Marie-Thérèse Walter—his previous lover and mother of his daughter—and Dora Maar, his new lover whom he had just met the past year while still married to his estranged wife, Olga.
Despite Picasso's many relationships, Marie-Thérèse left an effect on the artist, inspiring his most glorious artworks. This particular portrait was painted 10 years after their relationship started and reflects a joyous palette that belies the personal and political turmoil that Picasso was experiencing. He kept the painting in his personal collection until his death in 1973.
In contrast, the paintings of his other lover, Dora Maar, who was frequently represented as an erratic and emotionally vulnerable figure, Femme au Béret Mauve is a rainbow of vibrantly rich colours and bold voluminous shapes.
Interested bidders can register online at bonhams.com or reach out to the Bonhams team in Hong Kong at info.HK@bonhams.com or call +852 2918 4321.