Picasso’s “Nude, Green Leaves and Bust”
The vibrant large-scale depiction of Picasso’s mistress and frequent subject, Marie-Thérèse Walter, was the highlight of a world-class collection assembled by the late Los Angeles art patrons Frances and Sidney Brody. Picasso’s profile can be discerned in the blue background of the canvas.
It had been estimated to sell for more than $80 million, but many art experts predicted in recent weeks that it would ride growing confidence in a recovering art market and break the previous record of $104.3 million set in February by Giacometti’s “Walking Man I” at Sotheby’s in London.
More than half a dozen people bid on the 1932 canvas, which the Brodys acquired in the 1950s from Picasso’s dealers, with the winning bid taken by a Christie’s executive via telephone. The final price of $106,482,500 included the auction’s house’s commission.
“Nude, Green Leaves and Bust” has been publicly exhibited only once since 1951, the last time it changed hands. The year it was painted, 1932, is considered a turning point for the artist; it was then that he began creating luscious canvases featuring Walter that were unlike anything he had done before.
More paintings from the Brody estate, including works by Matisse, Braque and Giacometti, will be sold by Christie’s in the coming weeks.