Rare Picasso self-portrait expected to fetch $70 million

Conor Jordan, deputy chairman of impressionist and modern art at Christie’s stands next to Pablo Picasso’s ‘Le Marin’ during a media preview of Christie’s Hong Kong Spring Sales in Hong Kong on March 30, 2018. (AFP/Philip FONG)
Updated 30 March 2018
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Rare Picasso self-portrait expected to fetch $70 million

HONG KONG: A rare Picasso believed to be a self-portrait created when he was under threat of deportation to a Nazi concentration camp is expected to fetch $70 million at auction, Christie’s said Friday as the work went on view in Hong Kong.
The oil painting “Le Marin” depicts a sad-looking man dressed in a blue and white striped sailor’s shirt sitting on a chair.
“You have ... a slightly dark sense around the picture. It’s nervous, it’s on edge and slightly gloomy,” said Conor Jordan, deputy chairman of impressionist and modern art at Christie’s.
The 130 by 81 centimeter (52 by 31 inch) vertical painting shows the man resting his head against his right hand, while his legs are crossed with his left hand on his knee.
“That’s a traditional symbol of melancholy,” Jordan added.
Created in 1943, during the Nazi occupation of France, the painting reflects the distress and anxiety of the Spanish painter who was under threat of being sent to a concentration camp in Germany.
Le Marin’s last appearance was 21 years ago at an auction of works from the collection of New York art collectors Victor and Sally Ganz.
The painting will be on view in Hong Kong until April 3 before traveling to London and then New York, where it will go under the hammer on May 15 as part of Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art sale.
Le Marin is one of the five most important pieces by Picasso, according to Christie’s.
Last November, a series of 100 Picasso etchings which deal with his erotic obsessions and marital strife, as well as political turmoil in the 1930s, sold for 1.9 million euros ($2.2 million) in Paris to an unnamed American collector.
Picasso’s “The Women of Algiers (Version 0)” set a world record as the most expensive piece of art sold at auction when it fetched $179.4 million at Christie’s in New York in 2015.


Archaeologists find mosque from when Islam arrived in holy land

Updated 18 July 2019
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Archaeologists find mosque from when Islam arrived in holy land

  • Authorities estimate the mosquer dates back to the 7th to 8th centuries
  • Rare to find house of prayer so ancient whose congregation is likely to have been local farmers

RAHAT, Israel: Archaeologists in Israel have discovered the remains of one of the world’s oldest rural mosques, built around the time Islam arrived in the holy land, they said on Thursday.
The Israel Antiquities Authority estimates that the mosque, uncovered ahead of new construction in the Bedouin town of Rahat in the Negev desert, dates back to the 7th to 8th centuries.
There are large mosques known to be from that period in Jerusalem and in Makkah but it is rare to find a house of prayer so ancient whose congregation is likely to have been local farmers, the antiquities authority said.
Excavated at the site were the remains of an open-air mosque — a rectangular building, about the size of a single-car garage, with a prayer niche facing south toward Makkah.
“This is one of the earliest mosques known from the beginning of the arrival of Islam in Israel, after the Arab conquest of 636 C.E.,” said Gideon Avni of the antiquities authority.
“The discovery of the village and the mosque in its vicinity are a significant contribution to the study of the history of the country during this turbulent period.”