by Martin Willis, Gemr Community Curator
Coming up next month, Christies takes a daring leap and has the distinction of assigning the highest art at auction estimate ever. Picasso’s Les Femmes d’Alger, created in 1955 is going on the auction block May 11th at the Rockefella Center in New York City. The $140 Million dollar estimate is most likely the lower end of Christie’s expectations.
Les Femmes d’Alger in particular is iconic to say the least, but not considered the most valuable artwork in the world. If you could imagine the Mona Lisa coming to auction, think of the chaos that would ensue. Over 6 million people a year view the masterpiece of masterpieces. Not only could it somehow cause a war of some kind, but nations would probably bid for it and speculating an auction estimate would be like throwing a dart, anyone’s guess.
I was once lucky enough to own a Picasso drawing, I took it as an exchange for a debt that was owed to me. It is one of those things that I look back on and regret selling. Because it was to settle a debt, I wanted to be certain I had an authentic piece in my hands. Getting a Picasso authenticated needs to be a whole separate blog, it was most challenging. When I finally had contact from a nice gentleman in France from the Picasso Administration, he said the piece was authentic and the 143rd drawing he did on that day. Now the odd numbers on the piece made sense. I could not imagine drawing that much in one day. If you want to see how fast he was in his work, check out the video below.
Even Picasso’s signature had value, he was known for writing checks for small amounts because he knew people would not cash them, they would save it for his signature. I once saw a bar napkin drawing, he was also known to scribble on them to buy rounds of drinks. There will never be another Picasso, but there will be other painters in the future that we will say the same thing about. Not a Picasso, but something else, the next great Master of his own kind.
The reason for all the hype on Les Femmes d’Alger is very clear. There are many new billionaire collectors who have been fervently awaiting a Picasso masterpiece to come up at auction and this is a crown jewel.
Hold on to your hats this May 11th, and watch what happens after the hammer goes down, the dust settles and the cheers subside. This could very well be a new world record for art.
I dare to predict right now, that Les Femmes d’Alger may knock on the door of $200 Million, and my guess is $192 million. Feel free to post your guess of the auction price in the comments form below.
You are also welcome to post an auction estimate on the Mona Lisa, just for fun. My guess for her is a gazillion bajillion dollars!
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For more information go to Christies website by clicking here.