Update November 6, 2015

Dhaka 5-38 pm, 20-September, 2020

Picasso sells for $67.45m in windfall for US tycoon

Sumel Sarker

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Picasso sells for $67.45m in windfall for US tycoon

06 November 2015, Nirapad News: A Picasso picture of a cabaret artist, which carries a second painting on the reverse, sold for $67.45 million in New York Thursday, scoring a windfall for American billionaire Bill Koch.

It was the top lot of the season so far, proving a savvy investment for the Republican party donor who paid just $3 million for the canvas in 1984 and later discovered he had got two for the price of one.

Sotheby’s had valued the canvas, “La Gommeuse,” at $60 million. It was painted in Paris in 1901 when the artist was just 19 years old and grieving the suicide of a close friend. In 2000, during restoration work, Koch discovered that there was another painting on the reverse — a mocking depiction of Picasso’s art dealer — that had been hidden under the lining for a century.

It was a lucrative night for Koch. Just minutes earlier, at the same auction, Sotheby’s sold his Monet “Water Lilies” study in oil for $33.85 million, clearing its minimum pre-sale estimate of $30 to 50 million.

Another highlight was a Vincent van Gogh, which sold for $54 million. “Landscape under a Stormy Sky” was painted a year before the artist’s death and shows storm clouds over fields outside Arles, France.

A small van Gogh of a fat baby in a bonnet, “Le Bebe Marcelle Roulin” smashed its pre-sale estimate by selling for $7.64 million following a prolonged and frenetic bidding war.

Thursday’s auction saw Sotheby’s kick back with a strong performance after starting the fall season with a rather sluggish evening sale on Wednesday of $377 million worth of art collected by self-made billionaire Alfred Taubman, a former Sotheby’s chairman.

Taubman did a brief spell in jail in 2002 for price fixing.

Christie’s and Sotheby’s go head to head in a week of auction sales six months after the spring season smashed a string of records and netted more than $2.6 billion for the rival auction houses.

The most expensive lots this season are a sumptuous nude by Modigliani valued at $100 million, and a pop art masterpiece from Roy Lichtenstein estimated at $80 million.

Both go under the hammer at Christie’s.

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