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Pablo Picasso’s ‘Woman with a Watch’ Sells for Record $139 Million

Pablo Picasso’s “Woman with a Watch” Sells for Record $139 Million

Pablo Picasso’s famous painting “Femme à la montre” (“Woman with a Watch”) sold for a record-breaking $139 million at a Sotheby’s auction in New York on  November 8, 2023. The sale makes it the second most expensive Picasso painting ever auctioned, and the most expensive work of art sold at auction this year. The most expensive Picasso painting ever auctioned, “Les femmes d’Alger,” reached $179.3 million in 2015, showcasing the enduring appeal of Picasso’s work in the art market.

The painting is a portrait of Picasso’s lover, Marie-Thérèse Walter, seated in a throne-like chair against a blue background. It was painted in 1932, at a pivotal year in Picasso’s career, and is considered one of his most important works.

Sale Makes It Second Most Expensive Picasso Painting Ever Auctioned

The sale of “Femme à la montre” is also significant because of the context in which it was painted. Picasso was still married to his wife, Olga Khokhlova, at the time, and his relationship with Walter was a secret. The painting is seen as a public declaration of Picasso’s love for Walter, and it caused a scandal when it was first exhibited.

Painting Was Sold from Collection of Late Philanthropist Emily Fisher Landau

The painting was sold from the collection of Emily Fisher Landau, a late philanthropist who was a major collector of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. Landau bought the painting in 1968 and kept it above the mantle in her Manhattan apartment.

The anonymous buyer who purchased the painting beat out two other bidders. The sale is a testament to the continued high demand for Picasso’s work, and to the importance of “Femme à la montre” in his artistic legacy.

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