A Very Expensive Portrait

Nu au Plateau de Sculpteur (Nude, Green Leaves and Bust), Pablo Picasso, 1932

 
 

Nude, Green Leaves and Bust is one of a series of portraits that Pablo Picasso painted of his mistress and muse Marie-Thérèse Walter from 1932. The vibrant blue and lilac canvas is more than 5 feet (1.5 m) tall.

At the time, Picasso was in an exclusive contractual relationship with noted impressionist and post-impressionist French-Jewish art dealer Paul Rosenberg, who bought the painting direct from his friend. With the increasing tones of an approaching war, in the late 1930s Rosenberg started to distribute works from his 2,000+ piece collection around the world, and used the 1939 New York World’s Fair as the excuse to ship the painting outside France. After the 1940 Nazi invasion of France, on reaching New York via Lisbon in September 1940, Rosenberg opened a new branch of his noted gallery on East 57th street, and put the painting back on display.

From there it was bought by Sidney and Frances Brody in 1951, and was publicly exhibited only once in 1961 to commemorate Picasso’s 80th birthday.

Frances Brody died in November 2009. On May 4, 2010, the painting was sold at Christie’s in New York City, who won the rights to auction the collection against London-based Sotheby’s. The collection as a whole was valued at over US$150 million, while the work was originally expected to earn $80 million at auction.

There were eight bidders at the auction house, while the winning bid was taken via telephone for $95 million. Including the buyer’s premium, the price reached US$106.5 million. When inflation is ignored, the painting broke the record price for an art work sold at auction until it was surpassed by the selling of Edvard Munch‘s The Scream on May 2, 2012 for US$120 million.

 
 

Portrait of Pablo Picasso by Cecil Beaton, 1932

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Portrait of a Mother

Anna Mathilda McNeill in Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1 (Whistler’s Mother) James Abbott Whistler, 1871

 
 

Shushan Adoyan by Arshile Gorky, 1936

 
 

Cornelia Nobel in Woman I by Willem De Kooning, 1952

 
 

Ginevra de’ Pozzi by Guido Reni, 1612

 
 

Marguerite Merlet by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1860

 
 

Eugénie-Desirée Fournier by Édouard Manet, 1880

 
 

Ernestine Faivre by Georges Pierre Seurat, 1883

 
 

Marie-Francoise Oberson by  Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, 1838

 
 

Lucy Read by Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1797

 
 

Laura Catherine Bjølstad by Edvard Munch, 1899

 
 

Countess Adèle Tapié de Celeyran by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1883

 
 

Katherine Kelso Johnston by Mary Cassat, 1878

 
 

Sophie Maurice by Franz Marc, 1902

 
 

Marie Soukupová by Egon Schiele, 1911

 
 

Anna Cornelia Carbentus by Vincent van Gogh, 1888

 
 

Alina Maria Chazal by Paul Gauguin, 1890

 
 

Anne Elisabeth Honorine Aubert by Paul Cézanne, 1866-67

 
 

Barbara Holper by Albrecht Dürer, 1490-93

 
 

Neeltgen Willemsdochter van Zuytbrouck by Rembrandt, 1630

 
 

Gemma Cervetto by Giorgio De Chirico, 1911

 
 

Elizabeth Griffiths Smith by Edward Hopper, 1916-20

 
 

Anne Mary Hill was the inspiration and model for Mother Tucking Children Into Bed by Norman Rockwell, 1921

 
 

María Picasso y López by Pablo Picasso, 1896

 
 

Laura in Mum by David Hockney, 1985

 
 

Lucie Brasch by Lucian Freud, 1983

 
 

María del Pilar Barrientos by Diego Rivera, circa 1904

 
 

Flora Angulo by Fernando Botero, 1990

 
 

Felipa Domenech Ferrés by Salvador Dalí, 1920

 
 

Julia by Andy Warhol, 1974