A Pablo Picasso painting that depicts the late artist’s mistress is expected to fetch a whopping $120 million at auction, according to a news release from Sotheby’s. The auction house is selling the art collection of Emily Fisher Landau – and the Picasso piece is the standout.
The 1932 oil painting “Femme à la montre” depicts Marie-Thérèse Walter, who was known as Picasso’s “golden muse” and appeared in several of his works.
Picasso and Walter met in Paris in 1927 when she was just 17. They kept their relationship a secret because of her age and because Picasso was married to Olga Khokhlova, a Russian-Ukrainian ballerina.
The painting was the first public exhibition of Picasso’s love for Walter. One of its standout details is that Picasso painted Walter wearing a watch. He famously loved watches and “owned three of the greatest watches in existence,” according to Southeby’s. He depicted watches in just three of his major works and honored Walter by depicting her with one.
The painting was one of the first major art pieces New York art collector Fisher Landau acquired – and she bought it on the spot in 1968, according to Sotheby’s. It once hung above her mantle in New York and is now being auctioned with about 120 other pieces she collected, including works by Henri Matisse, Mark Rothko and several others.
Some of her other pieces were bought by Fisher Landau’s husband, Martin Fisher, after her jewelry was stolen. Fisher used the insurance money to buy his wife art, adding to her growing collection.
Fisher Landau’s massive collection was put on display at her own museum, the Fisher Landau Center for Art in Long Island City, New York. Pieces from her collection have also been displayed at museums like the Whitney.
The collection will be on display at international exhibitions then go up for auction in New York on Nov. 8 and 9. In total, the auction is expected to rake in $400 million.