Sotheby's Pulls $30M Picasso on Market Jitters

Top lot in Nov. auction withdrawn as seller panics
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 28, 2008 8:26 AM CDT
"Arlequin," a 1909 painting by Pablo Picasso, has been withdrawn from Sotheby's fall auction in New York. It was expected to bring more than $30 million.    (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
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(Newser) – A painting from Picasso's Cubist period that was one of the highlights of the fall auction season has been pulled "for private reasons," Sotheby's New York office said yesterday. The withdrawal of Arlequin, a 1909 work which was estimated at more than $30 million, had been rumored for weeks as art prices began heading south, reports the New York Times.

When Sotheby's announced the sale last month, they disclosed that it was being put on the block without a guarantee—that is, a minimum amount the seller receives regardless of the outcome. The painting comes from the collection of the Surrealist painter Enrico Donati, who bought it in the late 1940s for just $12,000. Sotheby's said it has no plans to sell the painting privately, and that the work is "off the market."