1 of 3 | A viewer observers Femme a la montre, 1932 oil on canvas by Pablo Picasso, which is on display as part of the Emily Fisher Landau Collection at Sotheby's in New York on Wednesday. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 13 (UPI) -- A painting by the influential cubist artist Pablo Picasso with an estimated value of $120 million will lead the Sotheby's auction of the landmark collection of Emily Fisher Landau in November.
Picasso painted Femme à la montre in 1932, soon after the end of the secrecy around his affair with Marie-Thérèse Walter, his "golden muse" depicted in the work.
"He was able to give full painterly voice to his love for her," Sotheby's said of the work.
Picasso first met Walter outside the Galeries Lafayette in Paris in 1927 when the painter was still married to the Ukrainian dancer Olga Khokhlova. She was 17 at the time.
"As time passed, Picasso found it ever harder to exclude his lover's features from his art," the auction house said in the news release.
In its release, Sotheby's claimed that no other Picasso painting from 1932 of "remotely significant importance" has gone up for auction since 2010.
"Its date, scale, subject, vibrancy and provenance are all exceptional, and perfectly aligned. But in addition to this, it has another important distinguishing feature: the watch that the artist has so conspicuously placed on Marie-Thérèse's wrist," Sotheby's said.
"Among the many paintings Picasso created in his long and varied career, only three major works, including this, are known to feature a watch, yet watches were objects of immense significance to him, in various ways."
Emily Fisher Landau, a famed collector who was a member of the board of the Whitney Museum of American Art for three decades, bought the prized work in 1968 at the start of her collecting career -- which began when she used a Lloyd's insurance settlement from a jewel heist in her apartment to begin purchasing art.
She has been known to loan the Picasso painting out for exhibitions, allowing it to be seen by the public and her extensive collection -- with 1,200 works -- were displayed at her own private museum called the Fisher Landau Center for Art from 1991 to 2017.
Fisher Landau died in March at her home in Palm Beach, Fla., at the age of 102. Before her death, she pledged almost 400 of the works to the Whitney Museum.
The "historic" auction, scheduled for Nov. 8-9 in New York, will include about 120 works from her collection, which are believed to be collectively worth more than $400 million.
Other paintings featured in the sale include Ed Ruscha's Securing the Last Letter (Boss) painted in 1964 and an untitled work by color field painter Mark Rothko, the estimated values of which were not outright provided by Sotheby's in the news release.
The sale also includes painting of two American flags by Jasper Johns estimated to be worth up to $45 million, a self-portrait by the pop artist Andy Warhol worth up to $20 million, and a painting by Willem de Kooning estimated to be worth up to $8 million.