Met Deaccessions $30m Picasso Bust

The well-known bronze head of Fernande is being sold to fund new acquisitions

The Metropolitan Museum of Art was gifted a cast of Pablo Picasso’s Tête de femme (Fernande) by Leonard Lauder. But the prestigious museum already owned an example of the bronze bust. Always in need of cash to fund acquisitions (and these days collection care, though the museum says the proceeds will go to buying more art), the museum has decided to sell one at Christie’s this May. The estimate isn’t being announced but the whisper number on the work is $30 million.

Tête de femme (Fernande) was executed in clay in 1909, then cast in bronze in 1926 and 1927. There are approximately 20 known casts of Picasso’s Tête de femme (Fernande.) The majority of which are in public institutions including the Musée National Picasso, Paris; National Gallery, Prague; The Art Institute of Chicago; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Norton Museum of Art, Palm Beach; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Kunsthaus Zürich; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York and Portland Art Museum, Oregon. Five of the nine casts from the later edition are also located in public institutions, including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles Museum of Art; Norton Simon Art Foundation, Pasadena; Stiftung Kulturbesitz, Berlin and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid. The plasters are at the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas and on long-term loan at the Tate, London.

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