A painting by Pablo Picasso depicting his much younger lover and muse Marie-Thérèse Walter as a sea creature with tentacles sold on Tuesday for $67.5 million at auction at Sotheby’s New York.
‘Reclining Naked Woman’ is a tour de force of Picasso’s famous 1932 artistic production,” the auction house said of the work, which was auctioned for the first time this week.
Its former owner, who remains anonymous, purchased it in May 2008 through the Gagosian Gallery in New York.
The portrait was expected to fetch $60 million, ARTnews reported early last month.
Walter was a 17-year-old model when she met the 45-year-old Spanish painter.
Picasso, who at the time was still married to his first wife, Russian-Ukrainian ballet dancer Olga Khokhlova, began a secret relationship with Walter, who became his muse and modeled for a number of paintings.
According to Sotheby’s, Walter’s love of swimming, as well as her grace, served as inspiration for the portrait, which is considered one of her “most monumental and uninhibited depictions” of her lover.
Brooke Lampley, Sotheby’s global head of fine art sales, described it as “a radical departure from tradition”, calling it “a deeply lyrical ode to the artist’s unconditional longing for Maria Theresa. “.