The "Impressionist and Modern Art" evening sale at Christie's New York offers 56 masterpieces. Among them, the most notable one must be "Femme assise, robe bleue" by Pablo Picasso.
Painted on 25th October 1939, Picasso's 58th birthday, this painting is a portrait of his lover and muse, Dora Maar.
The striking palette, ornate headwear, and distorted face exhibit exhilarating qualities that Maar brought out in Picasso's work. The rich, thick swirls of oil depicting the mass of her hair, and the shapes of her hat convey the passion at the core of this portrait.
The painting originally belonged to Picasso's dealer, Paul Rosenberg, but was confiscated. It was meant to be transported to Germany but was intercepted and captured by the Free French Forces. The operation was adopted into the 1964 movie, The Train, starring Burt Lancaster.
Poster of The Train
Coincidentally, Alexandre Rosenberg, the son of Paul Rosenberg, really enlisted with the Free French Forces after the invasion of France in 1940. He had led a platoon of nine men to sabotage Nazi's train which removed artworks from France.
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) "Femme assise, robe bleue"
Auction House: Christie's New York
Sale: Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale
Lot No.: 12A
Size: 73 x 60cm
Paul Rosenberg & Co., Paris and Bordeaux (acquired from the artist).
Confiscated in Bordeaux, 1940, and transferred to the German Embassy, Paris; transferred to the Jeu de Paume, 6th September 1941 (Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg inventory number PR 19); returned to the Möbel-Aktion and intended for transfer by train from Paris to the Nazi depot, Nikolsburg, Moravia, 1 August 1944.
Seized by the French Resistance; restituted by the Commission de Récuperation to Paul Rosenberg.
G. David Thompson, Pittsburgh (acquired from the above); Estate sale, Sotheby's Parke Bernet, New York, 23-24 March 1966, lot 68.
Galerie Beyeler, Basel (acquired at the above sale).
Private collection, Rome (acquired from the above by the family of the owner, circa 1968); sale, Christie's, London, 21 June 2011, lot 49.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
Pre-Lot Text: PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION
Estimate: US$35,000,000 - 50,000,000