Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point
On Air
Low Graphics

Wednesday, October 28, 1998 Published at 01:03 GMT

World: Europe

Picasso works sell for millions

A sketch of Picasso's lover Dora Maar

A collection of works by Pablo Picasso is fetching millions of dollars in what is being described as the art event of the decade.

Correspondent Hugh Schofield: This is the last Picasso collection hitherto unseen by the art market
The works, virtually unseen by the public for 50 years, come from a private collection kept by his one-time mistress, Dora Maar, who died last year.

At the start of a three-day auction in Paris, 32 paintings and drawings by Picasso sold for $27m.

[ image: The Weeping Woman]
The Weeping Woman
The star exhibit - a portrait of Maar entitled The Weeping Woman - exceeded expectations by selling for more than $6.5m.

The 1937 masterpiece was painted in the wake of Picasso's Guernica series inspired by the horror of the Spanish Civil War.

Another painting, Dora Maar with Green Nails, went for the smaller sum of just over $4m.

Also going under the hammer are small portraits of Dora made into jewellery, sketches on matchbox covers, photographs of Picasso, original books, notes, postcards, and letters.

Mistress and muse

[ image: Maar had lived as a recluse]
Maar had lived as a recluse
Dora Maar, whose real name was Theodora Markovitch, was born of a Yugoslav father and a French mother.

She was Picasso's lover for seven years from 1936 after the two met in a cafe in Paris where she was herself an aspiring artist.

She had a tempestuous relationship with Picasso involving fights with his wife Olga and another of his mistresses, Marie-Therese Walter.

[ image: The minotaur illustrates Picasso's passion for his lover]
The minotaur illustrates Picasso's passion for his lover
When the affair ended in 1943, she sank into depression and lived the rest of her life as a recluse, hidden away with her paintings.

It was only after Maar's death that art experts examining her estate found the major works stored in a bank vault.

But not everyone is thrilled by the discovery.

James Lord, a close friend of Maar's, said: "Dora would be just horrified at all this.

"All this stuff was so personal to her. It's rather morbid to have it up for sale."

The beneficiaries are two elderly distant cousins of Dora Maar's who had never even heard of her.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia

Relevant Stories

11 Nov 97 | World
Picasso and friends break records at auction

Internet Links

Picasso - the Official Web Site

Dora Maar Portrait Gallery

Online Picasso project

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Violence greets Clinton visit

Russian forces pound Grozny

EU fraud: a billion dollar bill

Next steps for peace

Cardinal may face loan-shark charges

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

Trans-Turkish pipeline deal signed

French party seeks new leader

Jube tube debut

Athens riots for Clinton visit

UN envoy discusses Chechnya in Moscow

Solana new Western European Union chief

Moldova's PM-designate withdraws

Chechen government welcomes summit

In pictures: Clinton's violent welcome

Georgia protests over Russian 'attack'

UN chief: No Chechen 'catastrophe'

New arms control treaty for Europe

From Business
Mannesmann fights back

EU fraud -- a billion-dollar bill

New moves in Spain's terror scandal

EU allows labelling of British beef

UN seeks more security in Chechnya

Athens riots for Clinton visit

Russia's media war over Chechnya

Homeless suffer as quake toll rises

Analysis: East-West relations must shift