Finest Blue Period Picasso a huge draw

Des O’Sullivan says La Gommeuse is from the fabulous Koch collection.

The finest Blue Period Picasso to come to auction in a generation is one of a number of highlights of the big art selling season in New York, which is fast approaching.

La Gommeuse, Picasso’s erotically charged 1901 painting of a cabaret performer, is from the collection of Bill Koch, American entrepreneur, collector and America’s Cup winner.

Blue Period works by Picasso are exceptionally rare. Most are in prestigious collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Guggenheim, New York, the Musée Picasso, Paris and the Art Institute of Chicago. This one has been part of the fabulous Koch collection for the last 30 years.

Conservation arranged by Bill Koch in 2000 revealed a wicked portrait on the reverse of Pere Manach, Picasso’s first dealer, wearing an exotic headress and with a female body. Scholarship suggests that Picasso was frustrated with Manach’s professional dealings in the summer when this was painted.

After the re-discovery, Mr Koch made a custom display for his home so that both pictures could be viewed.

A seminal Waterlilies by Monet from the his will collection is also included at Sotheby’s evening sale of Impressionist and Modern Art in New York on November 5.


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