*estimated at $30m
Pablo Picasso’s stunning work, ‘Femme accroupie (Jacqueline), a portrait the artist made of his lover Jacqueline Roque, on October 8, 1954, in his studio in the south of France is billed to be auctioned during the New York sales few months from now.
Femme accroupie (Jacqueline), a work that has never made any appearance in the public or sold at auction is making an inaugural bow and is estimated to attract bidding in the league of $20 million to $30 million. The sale will go down at Christie’s headquarters in New York’s Rockefeller Center November 13. The work will be on public view at Christie’s London from September 16 – 19, and also at Christie’s Hong Kong from September 28 – 3 October, before finally going for auction.
The masterpiece, vividly coloured and conceived on an impressive scale, Femme accroupie is a majestic image of the final love of the artist’s life, Jacqueline Roque. Jacqueline was Pablo Picasso’s second wife who he first met in the summer of 1952. Picasso was really in love with her and this is reflected in the vigour and energy with which he approached this portrait of his muse. The palette recalls the brilliant primary tones Picasso used during the 1930s – a time often referred to as his ‘golden period’- whilst the boldly geometric composition alludes to the ground-breaking developments of his Cubist work. From June to October 1954 Picasso painted Jacqueline in the same pose on several canvases crouched with her hands clasped around her knees, some highly abstracted and brightly coloured, others more naturalistic and sombre. Roque was married to the artist from 1961 until his death in 1973.
“It is Jacqueline’s image that permeates Picasso’s work from 1954 until his death, twice as long as any of her predecessors. It is her body that we are able to explore more exhaustively and more intimately than any other body in the history of art. It is her solicitude and patience that sustained the artist in the face of declining health and death and enabled him to be more productive than ever before and to go on working into his ninety-second year. And lastly it is her vulnerability that gives a new intensity to the combination of cruelty and tenderness that endows Picasso’s paintings of women with their pathos and their strength,” says John Richardson, Picasso’s biographer.
Jussi Pylkkanen, Christie’s global president, said in an announcement: “This painting of Jacqueline hung in Picasso’s private collection for many years and has rarely been seen in public since 1954. It is a museum-quality painting on the grand scale which will capture the imagination of the global art market when it is offered.”
Jessica Fertig, senior vice president at Christie’s and head of the evening sale also said “It is Jacqueline’s image that dominates Picasso’s work from 1954 until his death, longer than any of the women who preceded her.”
Picasso was one of the most acclaimed, and prolific artists of the 20th century. His 1955 work, Les femmes d’Alger, sold in 2015 for $179 million – a record for a painting auction.