Their love affair started as a secret decades ago: the married 45 year-old Spanish painter Picasso and the 17 year-old French Marie-Therese Walter meeting accidentally at Galeries Lafayette – now his painting homage to his muse ‘La Lecture’ fetched $40.7 million at a Sotheby’s art auction yesterday.
There was much excitement in the art world for the 1932 painting that depicts Walter asleep in an armchair. Last year Picasso’s ‘Nude, Green Leaves and Bust’ painting of Walter commanded $106.5 million. Nothing sanctifies illicit love over time like high priced art.
There were seven bidders vying for the painting, at London’s Sotheby auction house, finally selling after six minutes of bidding to an anonymous buyer over the phone.