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Sotheby’s Dubai Unveils Picasso’s Masterpiece ‘Femme à la montre’

Pictured above left to right: Julian Dawes (Sotheby’s Head of Impressionist & Modern Art, Americas), Katia Nounou Boueiz (Head of Sotheby’s UAE), His Excellency Sheikh Salem bin Khalid Al Qassimi (UAE Minister of Culture & Youth), Dr Saeed Kharbash (CEO of Dubai Culture’s Arts & Literature Sector)

The extremely rare 1932 portrait of Marie-Thérèse Walter is on view to the public in the DIFC today and on Tuesday 26 September (10am-7pm), before it travels on to Hong Kong and London. It will then return to New York, where it will be auctioned in November, with an estimate in excess of $120 million.

H.E. Sheikh Salem bin Khalid Al Qassimi, Minister of Culture & Youth, UAE: “H.E. Sheikh Salem bin Khalid Al Qassimi, Minister of Culture & Youth, UAE: “Over the years the UAE has earned the status of being a global art destination, which receives a further boost as this rare Picasso is unveiled here. Art enthusiasts and collectors in the UAE will have the privilege of viewing the masterpiece first before it sets out on a world tour. We commend Sotheby’s for choosing the UAE as the first stop for the Picasso masterpiece, which returns for exhibition outside of America after 50 years. Dubai’s hosting of the rare Picasso underscores its importance in attracting the best of art and its role in furthering the global art movement.

We welcome such endeavours that boost the local communities’ engagement with the international art world and help foster a stronger cultural and creative ecosystem. It is a way to inform and educate the upcoming generation of artists about the power of creativity and the value it holds. The flourishing art community in the nation owes its success to a blend of local and international influences. We are committed to further enhancing the global art landscape by fostering a culture of collaboration and exchange.”

Dr Saeed Mubarak bin Kharbash, CEO of the Arts & Literature Sector at Dubai Culture: “The presentation of Picasso's extraordinary masterpiece in Dubai underscores the UAE's global significance and amplifies our commitment to nurturing a thriving art ecosystem. This exhibition enriches our cultural landscape and demonstrates our dedication to providing world-class artistic experiences to our local and international audiences. It also cements Dubai’s position as a global centre for culture, an incubator for creativity and a thriving hub for talent, fostering a vibrant cultural scene that resonates across borders and celebrates art's transformative power.”

Sotheby’s has been continuing its commitment to showcase the best of the best of its worldwide offerings to the region for a number of years. In 2020, Sotheby’s Dubai exhibited an extremely rare Renaissance painting by Botticelli, which later sold for a record-breaking $92.2 million. At the time, it marked the highest value painting ever to be brought to the Middle East by an auction house. Since then, the walls of Sotheby’s Dubai gallery have hosted the best of the best works by the likes of Boetti, Wassily Kandinsky, Andy Warhol and more. Earlier this year, Sotheby’s Dubai also exhibited the record-breaking Estrela de Fura: 55.22 ruby and the Eternal Pink diamond, which were exhibited in Dubai and sold in New York this summer for $34.8 million each.

The unveiling of this Picasso overtakes the record set by Botticelli, and marks the first time a painting of this calibre by the world-renowned artist has ever been exhibited in the UAE. It is its first exhibition outside of the US in over 50 years, and the first stop of its world tour prior to its auction at Sotheby’s New York in early November, as part of the collection of pioneering patron Emily Fisher Landau.

Sotheby’s Dubai was officially launched by the global auction house in March 2017. A go to destination for Arts and Luxury, the gallery is located in the heart of the Dubai International Financial Centre, at Gate Village Building 3. The company hosts a programme of year-round events, including selling and non-selling exhibitions, events and talks reflecting the spectrum of Sotheby's international sales and extensive client services.

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