A prized Pablo Picasso masterpiece, titled “Femme a la Montre” (Woman in Watch), painted in 1932, will make its first appearance outside of the United States in over five decades at Sotheby’s Dubai. The exhibition will run from September 25 to 26 and features this iconic artwork with an estimated value surpassing $120 million.
Julian Dawes, the head of impressionist and modern art for Sotheby’s US, notes that this exhibition marks a significant event in the modern art market, with “Femme a la Montre” being the most valuable work ever sent by Sotheby’s to the region. This painting has not been displayed outside the US since its acquisition in 1968.
The artwork portrays Marie-Therese Walter, often referred to as Picasso’s ‘golden muse,’ and showcases Picasso’s distinct style characterized by angular and overlapping facets painted in bold colors. Walter, who was Picasso’s mistress during his marriage to Olga Khokhlova, also gave birth to Picasso’s first daughter, Maya Widmaier-Picasso, in 1935.
A unique feature of the painting is the wristwatch adorning Walter’s wrist, a rare motif in Picasso’s portraits. This detail not only reflects the evolving status of Walter in Picasso’s life but also pays homage to the tradition of vanitas painting, symbolizing the passage of time and the transience of life and love.
The painting’s significance lies in its representation of Picasso’s work in 1932, a pivotal year in his career. After being displayed in Dubai, “Femme a la Montre” will embark on a global tour, including stops in Hong Kong, London, and Taipei, before being auctioned at Sotheby’s in New York on November 8 to 9. This exhibition offers a unique opportunity to glimpse into the world of Picasso, the man and the artist, making it a must-see for art enthusiasts.