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Picasso's morose masterpiece with a hidden secret to go up for auction

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Picasso's morose masterpiece with a hidden secret to go up for auction
Photo: AFP
14:39 CEST+02:00
A rare Pablo Picasso painting from the collection of US tycoon Bill Koch that will be sold on November 5th was shown in London for the first time on Friday.

The painting by the Spanish artist depicts a morose-looking nude cabaret singer with red lips and brown curly hair, contrasting with her unhealthy pale skin.

Conservation work uncovered hidden under the lining on the reverse of the painting a portrait of Picasso's anarchist friend and art dealer Pere Manach.

 

"The whimsical and wicked rendering depicts the dealer wearing an exotic headdress, with his head on a female body in a dancer's leap," Sotheby's said in a statement.

"La Gommeuse" is estimated at some $60 million (€53 million) and is due to be auctioned in New York, where it will be put on display from October 30th.

The painting is a rare one from the artist's Blue Period that is not in a museum.

It was painted in 1901 by a 19-year-old Picasso - a year after he arrived in Paris.

Koch, brother of conservative mega-donors Charles and David Koch, bought the painting in 1984.

Picasso's masterpiece "Les Femmes d'Alger" became the most expensive painting ever sold at auction when it went for $179.36 million at Christie's in New York in May.

The previous record had been held by Francis Bacon's "Three Studies of Lucian Freud" which sold for $142.4 million at Christie's in New York in 2013.

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