1932 Pablo Picasso painting sells for $36.1 million

Pablo Picasso, ‘Buste de femme de profil’ (Femme écrivant). Sold: £27,319,000. Sotheby’s image

LONDON – Sotheby’s Evening Sale of Impressionist & Modern Art totaled £87.5 million / $115.7 million on June 19. Pablo Picasso and Alberto Giacometti stand shoulder-to-shoulder as two of the universally acknowledged greats of the modern era. On Tuesday they led the sale.

The auction was led by Picasso’s Buste de femme de profil (Femme écrivant) from the artist’s ‘year of wonders’, 1932, which sold for over 10 times the £2.4 million it achieved when last at auction in 1997. At £27.3 million / $36.1 million, it brought the total for the four works by Picasso offered this evening to £40 million / $53 million. Auction sales of works by Picasso at Sotheby’s worldwide this year have reached $232 million.

A rare departure from Giacometti’s usual themes of male and female figures, his evocative and elegant Le Chat sold for £12.6 million / $16.7 million. Subsequent to this rendition of a cat, a dog and two horses in 1951, Giacometti never turned his hand to sculpting animals again.

Alberto Giacometti, ‘Le Chat,’ bronze, 81.5cm, conceived in 1951 and cast in 1955. Sold: £12,642,000. Sotheby’s image

Also by Giacometti, the highly expressive Buste de Diego was sold to a Japanese collector in its auction debut for £2.9 million / $3.8 million (est. £2.5-3.5 million).