New-Art auction house in Hooglede, West Flanders, has announced the forthcoming auction of a Picasso masterpiece. The piece in question is an oil painting believed to date back to around

1897, with bidding starting at 750,000 euros.

Following the successful sale of a Van Gogh and a Degas in October, New-Art has obtained another significant artwork. The untitled piece portrays a nude man holding a stick and is thought to have originated during Picasso's academic years around 1897 while he was studying in Barcelona.

This Picasso's authenticity was affirmed in 2003 by Josep Palau i Fabre, a close friend and expert on the artist. In a certificate written in Catalan, Fabre highlighted the brushwork on the upper part of the cheekbone, distinguishing it from an academic painter's style.

"Authenticity has never been questioned" Unlike the Van Gogh piece, which took the auction house over eighteen months to prepare for sale, this Picasso artwork was swiftly readied in a matter of months. Raf Zerrouk from New-Art mentioned, "There was never any doubt about the authenticity in this case."

"We not only have the certification but also found the work listed in a reputable American online Picasso catalog," Zerrouk stated. "We thoroughly verified both aspects. As for how we secured such a prestigious piece in such a short period, I can't provide an exact answer. But I firmly believe that dedicated effort reaps rewards."

The artwork, currently in possession of a foreign private collector, will be presented on an online auction platform on December 17th at 16:00. With an initial bid set at 750,000 euros, the painting is expected to fetch up to 1.5 million euros. Photo by Belga agency.