Among the most successful lots was centenarian French painter Françoise Gilot’s Paloma à la Guitare (1965), a blue-toned portrait of the artist’s daughter, one of two children she had with Pablo Picasso. It sold for £922,500 ($1.3 million), 7 times its high £120,000 estimate, the result eclipsed Gilot’s previous record price of $695,000, paid for Étude bleue, a 1953 portrait of a seated woman, during a Sotheby’s New York Impressionist and modern art day sale in 2014.
Prices have been rising steadily for the artist as critics and historians have gone to great lengths to consider her as more than just a muse to Picasso. Still, Picasso’s image of her sold for much more than the sum paid for Paloma à la Guitare. A rare portrait of Gilot by the Spanish painter starred in Sotheby’s New York evening sale in May, selling for $20.9 million with premium, against an estimate of $14 million.
“It isn’t commonly known that Gilot’s commitment to art was present long before her relationship with Pablo Picasso, and she was sadly often left in his shadow,” Sotheby’s head of Impressionist and modern art online sale, Lisa Stevenson, told ARTnews.