One of the things that distinguished Pablo Picasso as an artist was his ability to churn out work basically on a whim – there's the famous story about him being asked by a fan to make a quick sketch on a napkin, which he did and then asked for a large amount of money for the sketch. The fan said it only took him a minute to draw it, so how could he charge so much money? "Incorrect," Picasso is believed to have said, "it took me 40 years to draw it." Now, a portrait that the artist painted of wife and muse Jacqueline Roque, mostly for his own private collection, is going up for auction for the first time, and is estimated to be worth between $20 million and $30 million.
The Associated Press reports that on November 13th in New York, Christie's will be auctioning off Femme accroupie (Jacqueline) – English title: Crouching Woman (Jacqueline) – depicting and named after Picasso's second wife Jacqueline Roque, who was married to the master from 1961 until his death in 1973. But the portrait was made before they were married, and is one of three Picasso painted on a single day in October of 1954, in his studio located in the south of France. All three of the paintings depict Roque in a crouching position, arms wrapped around her knees, in a style somewhat reminiscent of artist Henri Matisse, who influenced Picasso at the time.
Crouching Woman (Jacqueline) is being sold from a private collection and Christie's is estimating (and hoping, it goes without saying), that it will get anywhere from $20 million to $30 million once all is said and done. Not bad for something Picasso tossed off in a day – but it took him decades to learn how to do it.