Pablo Picasso’s “Femme a la Montre” Sells for $139 Million at an Auction

Pablo Picasso’s masterpiece “Femme a la Montre” was recently put up for auction by auction house Sothesby’s and was sold for $139 million. Surpassing its estimated price of $120 million, it became the most valuable artwork to be sold at an auction in 2023.

“Femme a la Montre,” which was acquired by an anonymous buyer, also became the second most expensive work by Picasso. It trails only the “Les Femmes d’Alger,” which fetched a price of $179.3 million at an auction organized by Christie’s in 2015.

“Femme a la Montre” is dated to 1932 and was previously part of the collection belonging to art collector and philanthropist Fisher Landau. The painting depicts the artist’s lover and muse Marie-Thérèse Walter. Picasso’s works centered on Walter have been highly popular among collectors, with paintings “Femme assise près d’une fenêtre (Marie-Thérèse)” and “Nude, Green Leaves and Bust” each selling for more than $100 million at previous auctions.

“Picasso’s ‘Femme à la Montre’ is a masterpiece by every measure,” said Julian Dawes, Sotheby’s head of Impressionist & Modern Art for the Americas. “Painted in 1932 — Picasso’s ‘annus mirabilis’ — it is full of joyful, passionate abandon, yet at the same time, it is utterly considered and resolved. Its bold primary colors sing from the five-foot-tall-canvas.”