Picasso portrait of Dora Maar becomes the world’s second most expensive painting



Just two years after setting the world auction record for his Garçon à la Pipe (sold for USD 93 million on 5 May 2004), Pablo Picasso came close to repeating the feat when a 1941 portrait of his muse, Dora Maar, was knocked down for USD 85 million at Sotheby’s prestigious Impressionist & Modern Art evening sale.

This astonishing hammer price confirms the market’s enthusiasm for the master of modern art – whose price index has risen by 87% over the last five years – and for art in general (New York turnover is up by 20% since the start of the year). In the same session, Sotheby’s also sold a major nude by Pablo PICASSO’s friend Henri MATISSE for USD 16.5 million. This 92cm wide 1927 work had been estimated at USD 12-15 million. Total turnover at Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art evening sale was USD 207.5 million.

Christie’s auction on the same theme, held the previous day, grossed USD 180.2 million, with a top bid of USD 36 million for Vincent Van Gogh’s L’Arlésienne, Madame Ginoux, 1890, followed by USD 31 million for Le Repos, another Picasso canvas dating from 1932.