Two portraits by Pablo Picasso are headed to auction in Hong Kong this spring as demand for the Spanish modernist continues to rise in the Asia Pacific region.
On Thursday, competing auction houses Christie’s and Sotheby’s announced that they will offer paintings depicting two of the Picasso’s recurring subjects—a musketeer and his muse Dora Maar, respectively—during evening sales dedicated to modern art. The sales are scheduled to take place this April and May.
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The lot with the higher estimate, Buste d’homme dans un cadre (1969), is being sold from the estate of former James Bond actor Sean Connery, who died in 2020. On May 26, is expected to fetch a price of $19 million (HK $150 million) at Christie’s in Hong Kong, where it will be offered with a guarantee.
Estimated to fetch a price in excess of $17.6 million (HK $138 million), Picasso’s 1939 painting Dora Maar will hit the block at Sotheby’s outpost in Hong Kong. The painting, which features a dark-haired and wide-eyed Maar dressed seated against a red background. It will hit the block alongside works by Chen Yifei, Wu Guanzhong, Chu Teh-Chun, and Zao Wou-Ki on April 27.
The subject of Buste d’homme is one Picasso returned to many times. It derived from Picaso’s interest in the 17th-century character that appears Dutch paintings of the era. Maar, the Surrealist photographer whose likeness appears in many of Picasso’s work throughout the 1930s to 1940s, was working alongside Picasso, even shooting pictures of him painting Guernica.
Interest in works by Picasso in Asia are “at an all-time high,” said Sotheby’s head of modern art in Asia, Feliz Kwok, in a statement.
Price benchmarks rose for the artist during Hong Kong sales last year, with a portrait of Picasso’s second wife Jacqueline Roque selling for $24.6 million, a record high for the artist during an Asia-based auction.