“Femme assise, robe bleu,” a painting by Pablo Picasso, sold for $45 million at a Christie’s auction in New York on May 15.
The painting depicts Dora Maar, a photographer, painter, and one of Picasso’s lovers. It was created on Picasso’s birthday on October 25, 1939.
In 1940, during the German occupation of France, the Nazis confiscated “Femme Assise, Robe Bleu” from Jewish art dealer Paul Rosenberg. According to Christie’s, it was transferred to the German embassy in Paris, then a store house for plundered art, before it was packed up to be transferred to Germany, via Nikolsburg, Moravia (part of the modern Czech Republic) in 1944.
French resistance soldiers intercepted the painting – along with 63 other Picasso artworks – on a train to Moravia.
While $45 million may seem like a staggering amount, a number of Picasso’s works have sold for substantially more. In 2015, his “Les femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’)” sold for $179 million, setting a new record for an artwork sold at auction, and in 2004, “Garçon à la pipe” (1905) sold for $104 million.
Last year, “Femme assise” (1909), one of Picasso’s earliest Cubist paintings, sold for $63.4 million, almost $20 million more than its estimate.
“Femme assise, robe bleu” was last for sale in 2011, when it sold for $26 million.