May is shaping up to be a megabucks month for the art market with some of the world's most notable collections of modern and contemporary master works crossing the block. Topping the list is a rarely-seen Picasso that's expected to fetch up to $90 million at Christie's landmark Evening Sale of Impressionist and Modern Art on May 4th in New York. The painting, Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust (above) dated 1932, is from the Collection of Mrs. Sidney F. Brody of real estate fame. The Brody collection boasts a wealth of master works by the "towering figures of the Modernist movement", including Picasso, Henri Matisse, Alberto Giacometti, Georges Braque, Edouard Vuillard, Marino Marini, and Henry Moore. The total value of the works to be offered is expected to exceed $150 million, making it one of the most valuable single-owner collections ever offered at auction.
Other standouts from the sale include Matisse's Nu au coussin bleu, 1924, estimated at $20–30 million, and Giacometti's Grande tête mince, 1954, estimated at $25–35 million. The Brodys acquired the Picasso direct from the artist's dealers in the 1950s and made it the focal point of their expanding collection at their mansion in Holmby Hills. The painting has only been exhibited once in the United States, when the Brodys loaned it to the 1961 exhibition Bonne Fête Monsieur Picasso, a retrospective staged in honor of Picasso's 80th birthday that was sponsored by the UCLA Art Council. The upcoming sale preview on April 30 marks the first time in 50 years the work will be publicly displayed.
Gallery: Megabucks May 2010 Art Auctions