One of Picasso’s most sensual works is to be auctioned by Sotheby’s after almost 80 years out of the public eye in Europe.
“La Lecture” or “Reading” reveals the artist’s erotic obsession with Marie-Therese Walter, a 17-year- old girl he spotted emerging from the Paris Metro in 1927.
Thomas Bompard from Sotheby’s said:
“This painting was first exhibited in June 1932. Picasso painted it between December 1931 and January 1932 for an exhibition in June 1932. Then the trail of the painting was lost until 1940 when it was rediscovered in New York. It has all the attributes to surpass even its ceiling price, that’s to say in the region of 30 million euros.”
A married Picasso was in his mid-40s when he began the affair, which produced a daughter called Maya.
The vibrant colours at the height of what experts call his “lovestruck period” have helped push the painting up to the top slot in the Impressionist and Modern Art auction.