Pablo Picasso is probably the biggest star of the modern painting world. But a Picasso that just sold at auction actually came with an extra jolt of star power: The painting was being sold by the estate of the late great actor, Sean Connery.
Christie’s auction of the 1969 Picasso piece was expected to fetch around $10 million. When the final gavel struck, the winning bid actually came in at $22 million.
The painting, titled “Buste d’homme dans un cadre,”was part of Picasso’s late “musketeer” period. As you can see in the photo below, it depicts a swashbuckler inspired by classic novels like “The Three Musketeers.” A swashbuckler who easily could have been played by Sean Connery in a film.
So does that $22 million go straight to the coffers of the already-extremely-rich Connery heirs? Nope! In a fun twist, the proceeds of this sale will be donated by the Connery family to Scottish and Bahamanian charities. Why Bahamanian? Because Sir Sean Connery spent most of the last several decades of his life as a full-time resident of the Bahamas.
As the Christie’s press release puts it:
“Sir Sean’s most famous on-screen identity was fiercely adventurous, innovative and determined; a romanticised vision of the modern hero. This iconic vision of greatness relates to Picasso’s own position within the history of the art of the 20th century — the fearless beacon of artistic exploration.”
The Christie’s statement further reports that as a Picasso collector, Connery generally preferred to focus on the artist’s earlier periods, but for whatever reason there was something about this particular work that attracted him.
According to the actor’s step-son Stephane Connery, who works as an art advisor, Sean was drawn to the painting’s “expressive power and freedom,” as well as its “impasto surface and… painted frame.”
Stephane cited his step-father’s “extraordinary sense of aesthetics, composition and movement, honed by his career [in film],” which served him well as an art collector.
Finally, Stephane also confirmed that this will not be the only painting sold from the Connery collection to benefit charity. According to Stephane:
“Before Sean passed away in 2020, he allocated a sizeable portion of his estate to be used for philanthropic purposes. We – his family – are now working to create a fund that will offer support to organizations that reflect Sean’s interests and passions, and serve to keep his legacy of integrity, opportunity and effectiveness alive. These efforts will be focused in Scotland, where Sean was born, and the Bahamas, where he lived for over 30 years and adored like his homeland.“