Picasso Masterpiece Makes Debut in UAE on World Tour

No Picasso work of comparable significance from 1932 has appeared on the auction market since 2010 when ‘Nude, Green Leaves and Bust’ from the estate of Mrs. Sidney F Brody established a new record price for any artwork sold at auction…reports Asian Lite News

“It is a remarkable privilege to debut this masterpiece, created by one of the world’s most celebrated and cherished artists, right here in the UAE as the inaugural stop on its global tour. Representing one of the paramount achievements in modern art ever presented at auction, this artwork perfectly embodies our commitment to enriching the region with the finest in art and culture.

In 2020, we showcased a painting by Botticelli, valued at over $80 million, making headlines as the highest-value painting ever brought to the Middle East by an auction house. Since then, we have continued to exhibit exceptional works by luminaries such as Boetti, Kandinsky, Warhol, and more. The unveiling of this Picasso masterpiece in Dubai will surpass the record set by the Botticelli and stands as the first-ever exhibition of such a caliber by the artist in the UAE.

“Emily Fisher Landau’s initial major acquisition, Picasso’s ‘Femme à la Montre,’ stands as a masterpiece by all measures. Painted in 1932, Picasso’s ‘annus mirabilis,’ it exudes both joyous, impassioned spontaneity and meticulous resolution. Its vivid primary colors resonate from the canvas, which stands at an impressive five feet tall. This Picasso work is not only a standout from a pivotal year but also an unequivocal masterpiece in the narrative of Western art,” said Julian Dawes, Sotheby’s Head of Impressionist & Modern Art, Americas.

Emily Fisher Landau, who acquired this painting in 1968 at the outset of her collecting journey, made a bold move as a fledgling collector. Recognizing the significance of this work, she acquired it on the spot from Pace Gallery, and it remained the centerpiece of her collection for over five decades, prominently displayed above her New York home’s mantelpiece.

The painting’s importance in Picasso’s body of work cannot be overstated. Depicting Marie-Thérèse Walter, the artist’s ‘golden muse’ and the subject of many of his most acclaimed portraits, it dates back to 1932, a year of such significance that it was the focus of an entire museum exhibition at Tate Modern and Musée Picasso Paris in 2018.

What sets this painting apart is the prominent watch adorning Marie-Thérèse’s wrist. Among Picasso’s extensive body of work, only three paintings, including this one, feature a watch, underscoring the artist’s profound fascination with exceptional timepieces. Picasso owned three of the world’s most exquisite watches, including Rolex, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and Patek Philippe. In this artwork, Marie-Thérèse wears one of these cherished timepieces, while also alluding to the centuries-old tradition of Vanitas painting, which underscores the ephemeral nature of love and life.

The legendary story of Picasso’s first encounter with Marie-Thérèse and their secret love affair is well-known. They initially crossed paths outside Galeries Lafayette in Paris in 1927, marking the beginning of a passionate yet concealed relationship. Picasso painted ‘Femme à la Montre’ in August, shortly after the conclusion of his first large-scale retrospective. In this moment, free from the exhibition’s pressures and the secrecy surrounding their relationship, he could fully express his love for Marie-Thérèse through his art.

No Picasso work of comparable significance from 1932 has appeared on the auction market since 2010 when ‘Nude, Green Leaves and Bust’ from the estate of Mrs. Sidney F Brody established a new record price for any artwork sold at auction.

The record for the highest price ever achieved for a Picasso artwork at auction stands at $179 million, achieved in 2015.


Born in 1920 and raised in Upper Manhattan, Emily Fisher Landau had a lifelong passion for art. Her art collection began in 1968 with the acquisition of an Alexander Calder mobile, which she ingeniously displayed above her bathtub. Unfortunately, in the following year, her apartment was robbed by armed individuals disguised as air conditioning repairmen, resulting in the loss of numerous valuable jewels. Despite the setback, Mrs. Fisher Landau used the insurance payout to swiftly replace her jewels with art, acquiring significant works by Modern masters such as Henri Matisse, Piet Mondrian, Paul Klee, and more. She also immersed herself in the vibrant New York art scene, forming relationships with influential artists like Louise Nevelson, Robert Rauschenberg, Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol, and others. She visited their studios, engaged with their work, and collected pieces that resonated most strongly with her intuitive eye.

This autumn, following a series of international exhibitions showcasing the exceptional range and quality of her collection, approximately 120 outstanding works, with an estimated value exceeding $400 million, will be offered at auction by Sotheby’s in New York. These auctions, taking place on November 8th and 9th, are expected to be historic moments in the art market.


The public exhibition will be held at Level 1, Gate Village Building 3, Dubai International Financial Centre, UAE, on September 25th (2 – 5pm) and September 26th (10am – 7pm). Prior to the public exhibition, a press unveiling for correspondents, film crews, and photographers will take place at 11am on Monday, September 25th. Interviews will be available with Katia Nounou-Bouiez (Head of Sotheby’s UAE) and Julian Dawes (Sotheby’s Head of Impressionist & Modern Art, Americas), both traveling to Dubai from New York for the occasion.”

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