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Pablo Picasso, ‘La Gommeuse,' 1901

Pablo Picasso's extraordinary La Gommeuse is among the rare and coveted pictures created during the artist's Blue Period (1901-1904). The painting dates from the second half of 1901, following Picasso's widely-praised exhibition at Vollard's gallery that June and amidst the sobering aftermath of his friend Casagemas' suicide earlier in the year. La Gommeuse depicts a gorgeous cabaret performer whose very body defines the perverse beauty of the age — she is both temptation and downfall incarnate, a high priestess of melancholy and a siren of joie de vivre. This work is a major highlight of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening sale on 5 November in New York.

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