According to a spokesperson for Christie’s, the value of the work is subject to an estimate on request and is expected to fetch approximately $30 million. It will be sold at a New York 20th Century Art evening sale; the exact date of the auction has not yet been announced.
In a statement, the Met said proceeds from the sale of Head of a woman (Fernande) will go towards the acquisition of new works for the museum’s permanent collection, in accordance with a policy put in place by the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), an organization that designates rules for art institutions operating in the United States. more than $50,000 on an annual basis, after its curators scoured the permanent collection for duplicate works that could then be sold.
Picasso made around 16 bronze casts of the piece, which depicts French artist and model Fernande Olivier. In a statement, Marc Porter, President of Chrisitie’s Americas, described the current work as “a rare example” of the artist’s work entering the secondary market, saying it represents “an absolutely crucial in the development of Picasso’s artistic practice, cubism, and the canon of art history in general.
The bronze sculpture entered the museum’s collection in 1995 when it was donated by the estate of Florene M. Schoenborn, who was a life trustee of the Museum of Modern Art. The double cast, Head of a Woman (Fernande), which the museum chose to keep, was donated by Lauder, a current Met administrator who pledged 78 works from his Cubist art collection to the Met in 2013.
The upcoming sale follows a $125 million donation from another longtime Met administrator, retired financier Oscar Tang. This donation, announced in December, will help renovate the galleries that house the Met’s Lauder Cubist collection. Tang’s donation came after a period of financial fallout at the Met since the start of the pandemic that saw the museum suffer a $100 million budget shortfall in 2021 and led to the alienation of other works.
“We are extraordinarily privileged to have had two casts of Picasso’s first Cubist sculpture – a masterpiece – thanks to the generosity of great patrons past and present,” Met Director Max Hollein said in a statement. . Funds from the sale, Hollein said, “will enable the Museum to further prioritize acquisitions of major exceptional works of art.”