Monday evening at Sotheby’s in Manhattan was a memorable one for the famed auction house. Pablo Picasso’s ‘Guitar on a Table’ sold for $37.1 million, closing the evening at one of its highest-ever tallies of $392 million.
The cubist from 1919 was part of CBS founder William Paley’s private collection. Following his passing in 1990, a couple dozen pieces were put into the care of New York’s Museum of Modern Art. A foundation for Mr. Paley decided to begin auctioning off some of the famed works in an effort to raise $70 million for various causes. One of the main goals of the sales is to help fund an expansion of MoMA’s digital footprint, with the possibility of developing a museum-run streaming art channel or pairing up with a university to offer art degrees.
During the auction, two bidders competed diligently for the Picasso piece, driving up the price tag. While the colorful “Guitar on a Table” had expected to sell for an estimated $20 million, a telephone bidder closed the sale at over $37 million.
Other pieces from Mr. Paley’s estate were also sold on Monday night and an additional painting was auctioned earlier this month at Sotheby’s in London.