Pablo Picasso’s Femme à la montre sold at auction on Wednesday for more than $139 million, the second-highest price paid for a work by the Spanish artist.
The 1932 oil painting was expected to sell for an estimated $120 million, according to Sotheby’s in New York. It’s sale price came in second only to version O of Les femmes d’Alger, one of fifteen versions, sold for $179 million at auction at Christie’s.
Femme à la montre was sold alongside numerous works from the art collection of of Emily Fisher Landau, including another Picasso, and works by Andy Warhol, Mark Tansey, Paul Klee, Henri Matisse, Ed Ruscha and others.
The painting depicts Marie-Thérèse Walter, who was known as Picasso’s golden muse. They carried on a secret relationship, as they met when she was 17, while he was married to Olga Khokhlova.
Because of their relationship, and the work it inspired, biographer John Richardson referred to 1932 as Picasso’s annus mirabilis, or year of wonders. That year, at the height of their relationship, Picasso produced a series of large-scale portraits of his mistress, exposing the secret affair.
In Femme à la montre, Walter is depicted wearing a wristwatch, unusual for women at the time, though Picasso seemed to gift them to the women in his life. He had previously painted his wife wearing a watch in 1917.
The painting was one of the first significant works acquired by Fisher Landau, in 1968, and once hung in her home before it was transferred to her museum, the Fisher Landau Center for Art in Long Island City, New York.
TMX contributed to this article.