Our cover this month, Pablo Picasso’s “Tête De Femme” (255/8 in. by 211/4 in.), sold for $27.14 million at Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale in London on Feb. 3, 2016. Hailed as one of the most important and influential artists of the 20th century, Picasso notably co-founded the Cubist movement.
Picasso’s work is classified into different periods, as his style constantly changed and was often a direct reflection of the various circumstances in his life. For example, during the Blue Period, he primarily painted in shades of blue and green due to his own impoverished situation and the loss of a friend to suicide. He then transitioned to the Rose Period, painting in warmer and more jovial hues, as a result of his blossoming relationship with his then-mistress, Fernande Olivier, and an improved financial position. The subject of this month’s cover, Marie-Thérèse Walter, is recognized as Picasso’s most influential muse and mistress (he had several) and the inspiration for his most creative period. Having fathered a child with Marie, he separated from, but never divorced, his wife Olga Khokhlova to avoid the even division of property dictated by French law.
Picasso’s penchant for affairs and use of his mistresses as the subject of his paintings likely created some family discord. One can speculate that his unorthodox “business practices” most likely added even more complications than the ones discussed in our Family Businesses Committee Report.