Upon his death in 1973, Picasso left his expansive French villa and all of its contents to his granddaughter, Marina. Following a UK£12 million profit (around US$15 million) from components of his estate at Sotheby’s London in February of last year, Marina will put an additional portion of her inheritance on the market in New York this spring.
Ranging between US$5,000 and US$120,000 (UK£93,564), estimates for the 111 works on sale are rather unprecedented for a multi-billion-dollar artist, and offer a unique opportunity for new collectors to acquire authentic artworks straight from Picasso’s studio.
So, why the low price points? According to Scott Niichel, the auction house’s co-head of day sales for impressionist and modern art, the foremost reason is because many of the artworks up for sale are not particularly characteristic of Picasso’s sought-after aesthetic. Experimental studies on paper and ceramic sculptures depicting human and animal subjects exhibit styles and techniques that the artist was hardly known for, and big-time collectors typically pursue icons of Picasso’s oeuvre.
That said, other lots are undoubtedly by the modernist master, exhibiting his recognizable cubist perspective.
While some of the works are also without the artist’s signature (an imperative detail for any collector and another deterrent Sotheby’s has anticipated), the market has seen a resurgent demand for Picasso’s ceramics. As one of the 20th century’s most prolific artists, Picasso crafted several thousand ceramic sculptures during his lifetime, hundreds of which he made as editions (limited copies) of an original. His ceramic works were long overshadowed by his paintings, but these objects and their editions have grown increasingly desirable, particularly because they’re more affordable.
With artworks by Picasso in the four-to-six figure range, new collectors will want to keep this auction on their radar.
Picasso Man & Beast: Property from the Collection of Marina Picasso will go on view at Sotheby’s New York, 1334 York Ave, New York, NY 10021 starting May 5 before going to auction on May 18, 2017.