A book by 20th century painter Pablo Picasso was put up for sale in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.
It is considered one of the most expensive items on sale at the 40th annual Sharjah International Book Fair, estimated at a Dh2 million – around £400,000.
The book contains original Picasso drawings and paintings and is completely unique.
It really is one of a kind, according to the owner of Antiquariat Inlibris in Vienna, Austria, Hugo Wetscherek: “Another distinctive feature of this book is it was gifted by Picasso to painter André Marchand with paintings and an autograph inscription.”
The paintings within the book date back to the mid-20th century, around 1944.
“These original paintings are just after the cover page and the end page of the book. The two drawings are executed in Indian ink, pen and brush, heightened with black ink wash.”
“The first drawing shoes a tomato plant in a pot, probably a reference to the still life for which Marchand was known. The second presents two different figures of a horse – in the upper half of the sheet, a white horse, and in the lower half, a powerful horse’s head against a stark dark background,” Wetscherek said.
The book was originally published in France in 1942, and only around 100 copies remain, and only one with Picasso’s own sketches done by his own hand.
“The book was printed in a relatively small number of 226. Several copies went to friends with unique drawings such as these,” Wetscherek said.
“(It) must have surely brought joy to those who viewed it during the dark days of the war,” he said.