Picasso’s “Golden Muse,” Marie-Thérèse Walter, is also proving to be a golden ticket at auction.
Pablo Picasso continues to be one of the most bankable artists on the planet: His 1937 masterpiece, Femme au Béret et à la Robe Quadrillée, sold for £49.8 million at Sotheby’s in London this past week, setting the highest price ever realized for a painting at auction in that currency. And on the eve of the opening of “The Ey Exhibition: Picasso 1932—Love, Fame, Tragedy,” at the Tate Modern, Vogue can now exclusively reveal that the centerpiece of the company’s May 14 Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale in New York will be Le Repos. Like Femme au Béret, this stunning masterwork from 1932—estimated to sell for $25-35 million—is a portrait of the Spaniard’s muse, Marie-Thérèse Walter, Picasso’s so-called “golden muse,” and according to Sotheby’s Simon Shaw, “arguably the love of his life.”
The painter met this sporty, statuesque blonde teenager on the street in 1927. Born in 1909, Walter was the illegitimate daughter of a Swedish businessman and a Frenchwoman and was living at home at the time of their first encounter. The 46-year-old Picasso was then unhappily married to the Russian ballerina Olga Khokhlova. The pliable, good-natured Walter soon became his muse and secret mistress.