Portrait of a Lady, by Pablo Picasso, has been acquired by the Louvre Abu Dhabi and will go on show at next month’s Birth of a Museum exhibition, at Manarat Al Saadiyat – the first time it will have been displayed.
A mix of gold and red and black and white, of paint and paper cutouts, the piece is believed to be a portrait of Natalie Paley, the art historian John Richardson says.
Paley was granddaughter of Tsar Alexander II and a well-known 20th-century socialite and fashion muse.
“This painting was chosen because of the style of it,” said Hissa Al Dhaheri, project manager of the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
“Being a collage, it’s one of the key elements that Picasso used and it’s not something that is always seen in other museums. It’s a very distinct style that he developed at that time.”
The painting was received by the museum last December, after being recommended by a curatorial team who passed on the final decision to an acquisition committee.
“It tells a beautiful story of the life of Picasso and the life of this lady,” said Ms Al Dhaheri.
Part of the appeal of the portrait, which was completed in 1928, was its lack of publicity, she added.
It will be one of nearly 130 pieces – all part of the museum’s permanent collection – to go on display at Birth of a Museum, which runs from April 22 until July 20.
Portrait of a Lady will be the only Picasso on display at the exhibition.