Sex Lies and Pablo Picasso

New Picasso Marie-Therese Goes Under the Hammer for £12m

A Pablo Picasso painting of his mistress Marie-Therese Walter is to be offered by Christie’s London and is expected to fetch at least £9m to £12m in the June auction sales. The proceeds will go towards research at the University of Sydney  to tackle obesity, diabetes and heart disease. An anonymous donor has given the work to the university, on the condition that they sell it and use the money for scientific study.

Picasso was 45 years old when he met his young mistress by chance in 1927, when she was leaving the Paris subway. Marie-Therese was 17 at the time, and remained the artist’s lover from 1927 to 1938, while he was still married to Russian dancer, Olga Khokhlova. She refused to divorce him on the grounds that he was unwilling to split his wealth with her, as subject by French law and thus remained married to him from 1918 – 1954, when she died of cancer.

Picasso was a serial womanizer. When Marie-Thérèse became jealous of Picasso’s affair with the artist Dora Maar, in1936 she tracked her down to Picasso’s studio where she was modeling as the crying woman in his painting Guernica. Asked about this incident, in later life Picasso remarked that he had been quite happy with the situation and that when they demanded that he choose between them, he told them that they would have to fight it out themselves, at which point the two women began a cat fight. Picasso described it “as one of his choicest memories”.

The painting titled,”Jeane Fille Endormie” is painted in a similar style to the work that is currently on show at Tate Modern, “Nude, Green Leaves and Bust”. This larger work  was purchased  by an unnamed buyer who paid $106.5 m for the 1932 oil last year.

Art Dealer Larry Gagosian, always quick to cash in on a trend is currently mounting an exhibition of Picasso portrait’s of Marie-Therese Walter at his New York Gallery. “Picasso and Marie-Thérèse: L’amour fou”, is the third show in a trilogy of commercial Picasso exhibitions organized by writer and scholar John Richardson.