While it sounds like the height of absurdity to say, one could never imagine how often it happens that paintings by art’s great masters are found in people’s attics.
In recent years, GNN has reported on a possible Da Vinci being found tucked away in a Scottish farmhouse. Then there was the case of a Fra Angelico Renaissance masterpiece being discovered in a modest house in the middle of England.
Now, a recent auction in Massachusetts featuring rare pieces of art collected from estates around the north-east has seen a previously unknown painting by Pablo Picasso being sold for $150,000.
Depicting Spanish well-to-dos attending the bull fighting arena, it is thought to be a preparatory sketch for a stage curtain as part of a 1919 Ballets Russes production (it’s still to be officially authenticated by the Picasso estate).
It was found tucked away with other paintings in the closet of a house belonging to a New England man’s recently deceased relative.
It would not be the first time a Picasso has turned up where one wouldn’t expect: A decade ago, GNN reported that hundreds of Picasso’s works, collected by a French electrician, had been received by a museum as a gift.
According to a statement by the anonymous seller on the auction house website, the Maine home in which the sketch work was found belonged to the man’s great aunt—she had studied in Europe, enjoyed bringing things back to the States, and generally lived an exciting life.
Then man came to own the house when his father inherited it after the great aunt passed away.
The 16×16 image on paper is believed to be a preliminary mock-up for the curtain that would act as the backdrop to Le Tricorne, which debuted at the Alhambra Theater in London after World War I.
The actual curtain which Picasso would later make is 20 feet by 19 feet, and is currently located in the New York Historical Society after spending 55 years on the wall in the Four Seasons restaurant. Picasso also designed the sets and the costumes for the play.