Museum Forced to Sell Recently Discovered Picasso
Tags: Auction House, Guernsey's, Midwest, New York, Picasso, Sleeper
The humble & relatively unknown Museum of Arts, History and Science in Evansville, Indiana is making national news after it discovered a highly valuable work by Pablo Picasso in storage and is consequently forced to sell it.
It had gone unnoticed for more than 40 years due to a cataloguing error: it was attributed to a so-called artist “Gemmaux,” which is actually the plural form of the word used to describe its artistic technique, gemmail. That technique, in which glass is layered on the canvas in order to achieve a three-dimensional effect, was only used by Picasso some 50 times.
Guernsey’s, a New York-based auction house, was conducting research on those 50 or so works and reached out to the Evansville museum after tracing one to its collection. Curator Mary Bower looked into the matter, confirming that Seated Woman with Red Hat (1957) was indeed by the hand of Picasso.
The work carries a likely price tag of $30-40 million, proving too costly for the Evansville museum to keep in terms of security, insurance and preservation. The museum board voted this month to sell it, enlisting Guernsey’s to help it find a private buyer.
The museum’s curator laments that the Evanston community won’t have the pleasure of seeing the Picasso hung on the walls of their local museum. However, the profits from the sale will allow the museum to engage in new acquisitions and special exhibitions for many years to come.
AP/Courtesy Evansville Museum of Arts, History & Science, Michael Wheatley