A work of art from Pablo Picasso’s “lovestruck” period has been put on display for the first time in 80 years, giving everyone an advanced look at an erotic portrait of Picasso’s adored mistress.
The painting is “La Lecture,” or “Reading,” and it depicts Picasso’s romantic obsession with his young lover Marie-Therese Walter—in typical Picasso fare, a stylized version of Marie-Therese is shown in brilliant colors, naked and reclining in an armchair while reading a book. And, to be fair, we might not have know that’s what the painting depicted unless Reuters told us. (But that big circle with the little circle in the middle? That’s definitely a boob.)
The painting could go for upwards of $29 million once the auction goes live; paltry, perhaps, if you consider that another of Picasso’s Marie-Therese erotic portraits called “Nude, Green Leaves and Bust” sold for a record $106 million last year. But still … pricey.
Philip Hook, Director of the Impressionist and Modern Picture Department at Sotheby's, told Reuters: “In the early 1930s he was very lyrically in love and reflected that in these gorgeous colors, and lovely compositions. This period is just about the most desirable of all Picasso's, certainly in market terms.” Good news for Sotheby’s that Picasso really poured his passion into his work.