A Pablo Picasso painting from 1952 that depicts one of his muses, artist Françoise Gilot, will be offered at Sotheby’s in an Impressionist and modern art evening auction in New York on May 12. Titled Femme assise en costume vert, the work is now on view at Sotheby’s galleries in London through April 30, and will go to its final location at the house’s New York headquarters on May 1. It is expected to fetch a price of $14 million–$18 million.
The canvas depicts Picasso’s former partner, with which he had two children, Paloma and Claude. Gilot lives in New York and will turn 100 in November; she recently published a memoir chronicling their relationship. The painting is coming back to auction after 35 years in the hands of the European owner, who purchased it back in 1986 at Sotheby’s for just $568,000.
It’s rare for a Picasso portrait of this caliber depicting Gilot to come to auction. Because that’s not the case for his pictures of his other muses, Marie-Thérèse Walter and Dora Maar among them, the sale of the Gilot portrait in May will be closely watched by collectors.
“While few comparable portraits of Gilot of this quality and scale have appeared at auction over the past decade, each has performed exceptionally well,” said Julian Dawes, co-head of Sotheby’s Impressionist and modern art department, in a statement.
In the portrait, Gilot sits upright in a chair and is painted in grey and green. Picasso made the work in Vallauris, France, where the couple lived with their children. As he was creating the painting, their decade-long relationship was ending.