Portrait of Picasso’s daughter Maya sells at auction for over £18 million

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A portrait by Pablo Picasso of his daughter Maya has sold for more than £18 million at auction.

The piece was one of five works that was sold for more than £15 million at the sale by auction house Sotheby’s on Wednesday.

Titled Fillette au bateau, Maya, it is a “joyful” portrait of the Spanish artist’s daughter, Maya Widmaier-Picasso – painted in 1938 when she was just two and a half years old.

Fillette au bateau, Maya, by Pablo Picasso, sold for £18.1 million (Sotheby’s/PA)

The sale was the piece’s first appearance at auction since 1999, when it was sold for £3.7 million as part of Gianni Versace’s collection of 25 works by Picasso.

Picasso’s work sold for £18.1 million at the Wednesday auction, having previously been estimated at £12 million.

Other works sold for over £15 million included those by Gerhard Richter, Lucian Freud, Edvard Munch, and Wassily Kandinsky.

Murnau mit Kirche II (Murnau with Church II) by Wassily Kandinsky (Sotheby’s/PA)

Painted during a transformative moment for the artist, Murnau mit Kirche II encapsulates the very beginnings of the revolutionary abstract language that later underpinned Kandinsky’s career.

Munch’s seminal four-metre-long painting, Dance on the Beach (The Reinhardt Frieze), sold for £16.9 million, placing it among the top ten prices ever achieved for the artist at auction, all of which have been realised at Sotheby’s.

Munch’s seminal four-metre-long painting, Dance on the Beach (The Reinhardt Frieze), sold for £16.9 million (Photo by Tristan Fewings/ Sotheby’s/PA)

“Since then, Sotheby’s restitution department has worked with many heirs and families to reunite them with their stolen property and, at the same time, to help re-tell their stories and celebrate their lives.”

Sotheby’s two sales of modern and contemporary art on Wednesday achieved a combined total of £172.6 million – an increase of 15% on the auction house’s equivalent sale last June.

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