US$6m Picasso’s Muse Painting 'Femme au chapeau' to Lead Heffel Fall Auction

Heffel Fine Art Auction House’s fall 2019 auction catalogue features a lineup of masterpieces from across the world, many of which will be available for sale for the first time. Pablo Picasso, Emily Carr, Joan Mitchell and Jean Paul Riopelle are among the internationally renowned names that highlight the collection on offer.

The auction will take place on November 20 in Toronto, and the collection is estimated to command between US$20 million and US$25 million. For the first time ever, half of Heffel’s total presale estimate is made up of major works consigned from outside of Canada, reinforcing Canada’s place as a rising star in the global art market, with Heffel at the forefront.

Pablo Picasso's Femme au chapeau. Estimate: US$6m-8m 

Verso photograph of Pablo Picasso’s Femme au chapeau (Tête), 1956 Courtesy of Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Kootz Gallery records, 1923 – 1966 Box 1, folder 55: Picasso, Pablo, artwork, circa 1940 – 1949

Pablo Picasso's Femme au chapeau. Collection of Tate Modern, London

Pablo Picasso leads the Heffel auction by estimate with the monumental Femme au chapeau, estimated at US$6,000,000 to US$8,000,000. The 1941 oil on canvas is a spectacular depiction of Dora Maar, Picasso’s muse and his iconic “Weeping Woman.” Consigned from a prominent European collection, the painting has a rich exhibition provenance and history, including an important show in 1956 at the Kootz Gallery in New York, Picasso: First Showing in America, Paintings and Sculptures. Picasso’s canvases are among the most sought-after on the art market, and this quintessential example is sure to thrill collectors.

Pablo Picasso’s Femme au chapeau, exhibited at the Kootz Gallery, New York, March 12 – April 7, 1956 Courtesy of Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Kootz Gallery records, 1923 – 1966 Box 1, folder 52: Picasso, Pablo, circa 1947 – 1965

Pablo Picasso and his muse Dora Maar

Café Les Deux Magots

Dora Maar was a photographer and painter living in Paris when she met Pablo Picasso in 1935 / 1936 at the café Les Deux Magots, and by 1937 she had become one of his important muses. A serious and sensitive, high-strung dark-haired beauty, she was described as follows by James Lord: “Her gaze possessed remarkable radiance but could also be very hard. I observed that she was beautiful, with a strong, straight nose, perfect scarlet lips, the chin firm, the jaw a trifle heavy and the more forceful for being so, rich chestnut hair drawn smoothly back, and eyelashes like the furred antennae of moths.”

Not only was Maar visually compelling to Picasso and thus a great model, she was intelligent, creative and part of the Paris avant-garde artistic community. Picasso perceived that Maar was melancholic, with a Kafkaesque personality, and he found in this emotion a powerful subject for his work. He often depicted her in a state of grief, as in his famous Weeping Woman series. Femme au chapeau is a masterful work from the turbulent and intense period of World War II and is as historically important as it is beautiful.

Picasso is revered as one of the foremost Modernist painters of all time and strongly influenced artists globally, including the esteemed and highly collectible Zao Wou-Ki, Zhang Daqian and Chu Teh-Chun.

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Pablo Picasso (1881-1973). Femme au chapeau

Lot no.: 136
Size: 61 x 38cm

  • Collection of the Artist, 1941 – 1956
  • Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris (Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler) January 1956
  • Kootz Gallery, New York, 1956
  • Anonymous sale, Klipstein & Kornfeld, Bern, Switzerland, 1962, lot 949
  • Heinz Berggruen, Paris, 1962 Collection Pierina de Gavardie, Paris, 1962
  • Sold sale of Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale, Christie’s London, June 25, 2002, lot 18
  • A Prominent European Private Collection


  • Kootz Gallery, New York, Picasso: First Showing in America, Paintings and Sculptures, March 12 – April 7, 1956
  • Grimaldi Forum Monaco, Picasso in the Nahmad Collection, July 12 – September 15, 2013

Estimate: US$6,000,000 - 8,000,000

Heffel Fine Art Auction House|Fall 2019 Auction

Venue: Design Exchange, Toronto
Address: The Historic Trading Floor, 234 Bay Street, Toronto
Post-War & Contemporary Art: 20 November 2019|5pm
Canadian Impressionist & Modern Art: 20 November 2019 | 7pm
15 - 19 November | 10am-6pm
20 November | 10am - 1pm