Pablo Picasso continues to dazzle at Sotheby's

Pablo Picasso’s vibrant Nature Morte Aux Tulipes has sold for $41.5 million (approximately £26.1 million) at Sotheby’s impressionist and modern art sale in Manhattan, in what was a noticeably reserved evening.
The colourful portrait of his lover Marie-Theresa Walter, which allegedly only took him a mere handful of hours to complete in 1932, was hotly contested between three bidders.
It had belonged to Steve Wynn, a high-flying American businessman and keen art collector who helped to transform the Las Vegas strip in the 1990s.
The very suggestive painting, which sees Ms Walter positioned next to tulips and flowers – and has been passed around a few collectors in recent times – finally went to an unknown bidder.
According to Simon Shaw, head of Sotheby’s impressionist and modern art department in New York, this sale, along with others, “demonstrates clearly that in this market there continues to be a search for quality”.
However, with 30 per cent of works not finding a buyer, the evening finished on a respectable but restrained $163 million (£102 million). This was below the lower end estimate of $169-245 million (£106-£153 million).
Other highlights of the evening included Claude Monet’s Champ de ble going for $12.1 million (£7.6 million), significantly higher than the expected $5-7 million (£3.1-£4.4 million); and Henry Moore’s sculpture achieving its higher-end price of $4.7 million (£3 million).
“With increasing participation from South American, Asian and Russian bidders, anchored by the continued presence of established American collectors, we remain confident in today’s market,” said David Norman, co-chairman of Sotheby’s impressionist and modern Art department.
Next week sees Sotheby’s host its contemporary art sale, where it will be hoping for something more spectacular.Given that contemporary art has had an outstanding year so far, it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to see more enthusiasm from investors and collectors alike.
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