Apr 03, 2017

Picasso Painting Seized by the Nazis and Reclaimed by French Resistance Fighters to Go on Sale

'Femme Assise Robe Bleue' Goes on Sale at Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art evening sale in May
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A Picasso painting with a simply astounding history will come up for sale at Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art evening sale in May. 'Femme assise, robe bleue (1939)' by the Spanish artist is estimated to reach between $35 million and $50 million.

The painting, a portrait of Picasso’s lover Dora Maar, has a remarkable story. Painted on Picasso’s birthday, on the eve of the outbreak of World War II, the artwork was seized by the Nazis from its original owner, Jewish French art dealer Paul Rosenberg.

It was then intended to be transported to Germany, but was intercepted by French Resistance fighters seeking to preserve French culture.

The painting’s extraordinary story was adapted for the 1966 Hollywood movie The Train, starring Burt Lancaster and Jeanne Moreau.

But it isn’t just the history of the painting that is expected to have collectors clambering to outbid each other with demand for Picasso’s portraits of one of his greatest subjects at an all time high:

“It exhibits all of the most exhilarating qualities that Dora brought out in Picasso’s work: the striking palette, ornate headwear, and remarkable complexity conveyed by Dora’s distorted features,” said Giovanna Bertazzoni, Christie’s deputy chairman of Impressionist and modern art. “The canvas is a powerful example of Picasso’s creative imagination and the passion which Dora inspired in him.”

Francis Outred, Christie’s chairman and head of postwar and contemporary art is confident that the painting will reach its estimate. “We fully expect the romance and power of this painting and its remarkable story to capture the hearts and minds of our global collectors of masterpieces from Old Masters to contemporary, this May,”