Pablo Picasso’s erotically-charged portrait of a naked female singer has sold for $67 million at Sotheby’s in New York. La Gommeuse (The Nightclub Singer) was painted in 1901, when Picasso was just 19 years old. It belongs to the artist’s “Blue Period,” when Picasso was mourning the suicide of his friend Carlos Cadagemas. During this time, Picasso often painted relatively dour subjects: prisoners, beggars, drunks, and prostitutes. The identity of the portrait’s model is unknown, but the word “la gommeuse” was associated with scantily-clad women who sung in cafes. The painting, which was previously held by the American billionaire Bill Koch, is one of only several blue period works that are privately owned. La Gommeuse is also notable because it contains two paintings in one: in 2000, while the portrait was being restored, Koch discovered a mocking, lurid depiction of Picasso’s art dealer hidden within the lining of the reverse side.
Read more at the Sydney Morning Herald.