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Picasso painting found in closet of a Maine home sells for more than $150,000 at auction

During a routine assessment at a home in Maine, John McInnis Auctioneers of Amesbury discovered a previously unknown work on paper by Pablo Picasso.
During a routine assessment at a home in Maine, John McInnis Auctioneers of Amesbury discovered a previously unknown work on paper by Pablo Picasso.Courtesy John McInnis Auctioneers

A painting attributed to 20th-century master Pablo Picasso that was recently discovered in a closet in Maine sold at auction over the weekend in Amesbury, Mass., for more than $150,000.

The Amesbury-based John McInnis Auctioneers confirmed via phone Wednesday that the work sold Saturday. The website liveauctioneers.com reported the sale price was $150,000, plus a 24 percent buyer’s premium. The buyer wasn’t named.

The McInnis official website contains a link to a press release on the painting posted to artfixdaily.com. Per the release, the painting’s entitled “Le Tricorne,” a 16-by-16-inch mixed media work on paper, signed and dated 1919.

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The McInnis site also linked to a description of the work — provided by the owner of the Maine residence where it was found — posted to liveauctioneers.com.

The homeowner wasn’t identified by name but said the work is a “maquette for Picasso’s largest work by the same title on exhibit at the New-York Historical Society, New York City.” A maquette is a term for a preliminary work or sketch.

The homeowner’s aunt and grandmother had both studied in Europe in the 1920s, and they each collected objects from their travels, the person wrote.

“My aunt collected rare books and art,” the homeowner wrote. “Each led an interesting life with uncommon travels which was afforded to them through their uncle who owned mills in Maine. ... This painting was discovered in a house owned by my great aunt which was passed down to her from her uncle in the late 1930s.”

The piece, the homeowner continued, was one of several paintings “kept in a closet for 50 years ... which were left by her at the time of the passing of the house to my father and now to me.”

Before the transaction’s completed, the buyer will have at least 120 days to authenticate the work with the Picasso Administration, managed by the artist’s son, photographer and filmmaker Claude Picasso, the liveauctioneers.com report said.

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The elder Picasso produced more than 20,000 paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, and photographs, cementing his status as one of the leading 20th-century art stars of the West. He died in 1973.

The MFA in 2016 mounted the wildly popular exhibition “Pairing Picasso,” which divided 11 of his works into groupings: four pairs and a trio.


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.