A portrait of Picasso’s muse and lover Marie-Thérèse Walter is expected to sell for about £33 million at Sotheby’s months after a similar work went for almost £50 million.
James Mackie, Sotheby’s head of Impressionist and Modern Art, said the scale of the 1932 oil painting, which is 1.1 metres by three quarters of a metre, made it stand out. “If you compare it to the Marie-Thérèse we sold in London in February for just shy of £50 million, that was less than half the size.
“We haven’t seen a Marie-Thérèse on this scale for quite some time. She has a very particular allure for collectors, she is the one person that you can say had the greatest individual impact as a muse on his art.”
The Picasso show at Tate Modern, which runs to September and focuses on paintings from the same year “ his year of wonders” would drive up interest, Mr Mackie added.
It is one of a series of works that are expected to reach at least £124 million at the auction house in New Bond Street next Tuesday. They include a charcoal portrait by Henri Matisse of Bloomsbury Group member Mary Hutchinson, valued at £3 million, and a Monet valued at £5 million.