A highly prized Picasso self portrait owned by the estate of Sir Sean Connery is going under the hammer for the benefit of Scottish charities.

Buste d’homme dans un cadre is the most valuable work by the artist to be auctioned by Christie's in Asia and and is expected to fetch upwards of £15million.

The canvas is said to be one of the finest and most striking of the artist’s works from the last decade of his life.

Before the Bond actor passed away in 2020 at the age of 90 he allocated a sizable portion of his estate to be used for philanthropic purposes.

His daughter Stephane Connery said the family were now working to create a fund that will offer support to organisations, "that reflect Sean’s interests and passions."

She said:  “Sean had an extraordinary sense of aesthetics, composition and movement honed by his career in a visual medium as well as his long marriage to Micheline, a fine and internationally exhibited painter.

"Further, he truly enjoyed visiting museums which sharpened his discerning eye.

HeraldScotland:

"Our last visits included the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Barnes Collection, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., shortly before he decided to purchase "Buste d'homme dans un cadre".

"He loved and owned numerous works by Picasso, and upon seeing "Buste d'homme dans un cadre" he was captivated by its expressive power and freedom.

"It seems fitting that this work would be sold in Asia as Sean had a tremendous affinity for Asia and its culture.

"Before Sean passed away in 2020, he allocated a sizable 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 organisations that reflect Sean’s interests and passions, and serve to keep his legacy of integrity, opportunity and effectiveness alive. These efforts will be focused

Buste d’homme dans un cadre is described as a representation of Picasso’s iconic musketeer motif: the pan-European, 17th Century swashbuckling archetype of masculinity, deriving its inspiration from celebrated golden age master painters such as Rembrandt and Velázquez, and literary giants Shakespeare and Dumas.

In this painting, the sitter bears the gaze of Picasso’s own intense black eyes, sporting a goatee worthy of the Cardinal Richelieu, a literary nemesis in Dumas’ famed novel The Three Musketeers which Picasso re-read in 1966, sparking his inspiration for the series. 

The style of paint application is indebted much more to Vincent van Gogh: dense swirling strokes of paint emanate throughout, curling within his ruff, around his head and even up over the top of the painted frame.

Adrien Meyer, Co-Chairman of Impressionist & Modern Art, Christie’s, said: “It is a privilege for Christie’s to have been entrusted by the family of Sir Sean Connery with the sale of this fabulous Picasso self-portrait.

"No wonder is it that a titan of the film industry was drawn to this tour de force by the greatest modern art titan of all.

"Appearing at auction for the first time, this is simply one of the best works by the artist of his late period to ever come to market.”