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Pieces of Eight: 60m Squid for a Picasso, 100m for £100k and the exploits of a Croatian 'Hyperpedestrian'

Pieces of Eight: 60m Squid for a Picasso, 100m for £100k and the exploits of a Croatian 'Hyperpedestrian'

🐙 A sensuous depiction of Pablo Picasso’s muse and lover as a multi-limbed sea creature, completed during the most prolific year of the artist’s life, is to appear at auction for the first time.  Femme nue couchée (Naked woman reclining) is expected to sell for more than $60m next month, a reflection of the desirability among collectors of Picasso’s images of Marie-Thérèse Walter.

“a deeply lyrical ode to the artist’s unbound desire for Marie-Thérèse; with her fin-like, endlessly pliable limbs, the portrait continues to enchant as it perfectly captures Picasso’s muse as the ultimate expression of his genius”  

- Brooke Lampley, chair and head of global fine art sales at Sotheby’s

🎽 Harrison Dillard should never have won the 1948 Olympic 100 metres gold medal on a blazing July day at Wembley Stadium. He shouldn’t have been in the final. Olympic gold medals at auction are as rare as hen’s teeth, this one commanded a $120k hammer price.  His daughter Terri decided to sell the 100m medal – the first of four golds Dillard won at the 1948 and 1952 Olympics – but the other three will stay in the family.

“It was a tough call to make but I’m hoping it will go to someone who will appreciate and honour it. Hopefully a museum where it can be on display."

✏️ A drawing by Michelangelo, discovered in 2019, will be offered for sale next month by Christie's and could fetch 30 million euros ($33 million), the British auction house said on Tuesday.The drawing, one of the few works of the Renaissance Italian artist in private hands, was sold in 1907 in Paris and billed as a work of the school of Michelangelo. It was largely forgotten until 2019, when a Christie's specialist recognized it as one of Michelangelo's own.

Our Take: We often read of prized possessions auctioned in the hope they can go on public display, unfortunately so few institutions can compete with the deep pockets of private collectors. UK funding is a case in point, the pandemic saw a 93% reduction in footfall and the Governments ‘Levelling Up’ agenda means reduced funding is being stretched further. When can they realistically hope to consistently compete at auction again, whether for a £100k medal, €30m Michelangelo or $60m Picasso? We’d love to see fractionalisation used as a force for good, supporting institutions, improving access and offering a true sense of ownership as Raiders of the Lost Art!

🚶🏻One hundred years ago this spring, Joseph F. Mikulec walked 2,000 miles from Dayton, Ohio, to Calgary, Canada.   Three weeksinto his journey, Mikulec stopped in St. Louis, Missouri, to give a talk on his travels. Over the past 14years, the Croatian“hyperpedestrian”had traversed some 100,000 miles on foot, visiting 26 countries and collecting 50,000 autographs along the way.

Our Take: The truth is so often more impressive and frankly unbelievable than fiction, and this is a prime example. Perhaps the most impressive explorer and adventurer you have never heard of - from meetings with the US President and UK Prime Minster to 9 days lost in the Amazon - Joseph’s incredible exploits are being brought to life again through this unique collectable.

That's it for this week, thanks as always for reading and if you have any comments please get in touch via hello@showpiece.com.

The Showpiece Team