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Femme Nue Couchée Pencil on paper laid down on card 4¼ by 8 in.; 10.7 by 20.3 cm Executed in Boisgeloup in June 1932. Estimate: $30/40,000. Courtesy of Sotheby's.
Femme Nue Couchée Pencil on paper laid down on card 4¼ by 8 in.; 10.7 by 20.3 cm Executed in Boisgeloup in June 1932. Estimate: $30/40,000. Courtesy of Sotheby's.
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(Relatively) Affordable Artworks by Picasso for Sale in New York

Picture of Rachel Gould
Art & Design Editor
Updated: 25 April 2017
Pablo Picasso: one of the biggest names in art, his works are coveted and continue to gross millions. But come May 18, the artist’s granddaughter will put 47 ceramics and 64 works on paper up for auction at Picasso Man & Beast, where estimates begin at an unusually affordable US$5,000 (UK£3,898).

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.

Vase-Femme avec un Bras-Anse Painted and incised ceramic; vase Height: 13½ in.; 34.2 cm This work is unique. Estimate: $40/60,000. Image courtesy of Sotheby's.
Vase-Femme avec un Bras-Anse Painted and incised ceramic; vase. This work is unique. Estimate: $40/60,000. Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

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.

Paloma Dated 15.1.51. (lower right)Pencil on paper 10½ by 8¼ in.; 10.6 by 21 cm Executed on January 15, 1951. Estimate: $25/35,000
Paloma. Dated 15.1.51. (lower right). Pencil on paper. Executed on January 15, 1951. Estimate: $25/35,000. Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

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.

Étude pour L’Homme au Mouton Dated 19 juillet 42. (upper left)Pen and ink on paper 13⅛ by 8⅜ in.; 33.3 by 21.2 cm Executed in Paris on July 19, 1942. Estimate: $40/60,000
Étude pour L’Homme au Mouton. Dated 19 juillet 42. (upper left). Pen and ink on paper. Executed in Paris on July 19, 1942. Estimate: $40/60,000. Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

That said, other lots are undoubtedly by the modernist master, exhibiting his recognizable cubist perspective.

Taureau Graphite on paper 8¼ by 5¼ in.; 20.9 by 13.3 cm Executed in 1942. Estimate: $40/60,000
Taureau. Graphite on paper. Executed in 1942. Estimate: $40/60,000. Courtesy of Sothbey’s.

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.

Visage Dated 6.10.60 and stamped Madoura plein feu and Emprienteoriginale de Picasso (on the reverse)Painted and partially glazed ceramic; large round plate Diameter: 16¾ in.; 42.5 cm Executed on October 6, 1960; this is a unique version of the empreinte.Estimate: $40/60,000
Visage. Dated 6.10.60 and stamped Madoura plein feu and Emprienteoriginale de Picasso (on the reverse). Painted and partially glazed ceramic; large round plate. Executed on October 6, 1960; this is a unique version of the empreinte. Estimate: $40/60,000. Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

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.