Maharani Sitadevi of Baroda (Vadodara) was an ultra sophisticated jetsetter who as renowned in Europe and United States for her fabulous collection of jewels and works of art. After her separation from Maharaja Pratapsinhrao Gaekwad, she moved to Europe and maintained lavish establishments in Paris, London, Monaco and Palm Beach. Maharani Sitadevi was a proud owner of a rare and valuable Picasso drawing. While it known that many princely houses owned Picassos including Burdwan, Hyderabad and Jamnagar, but their details very hazy. Fortunately, we do have this information in case of the Baroda Picasso.
The valuable Pablo Picasso drawing called SCÈNE DE CORRIDA (Scene of Bullfighting) was owned by Maharani Sitadevi Gaekwad of Baroda
The Baroda Picasso was called SCÈNE DE CORRIDA or Scene of Bull fighting. Information search of this painting reveals that Bullfight Scene is a brush and ink drawing on paper made by Picasso in the château of Vauvenargues, near Aix-en-Provence, where he and his partner Jacqueline Roque had moved in 1958. Executed on 25 February 1960, this is number ten of fourteen drawings on the theme of the bullfight that Picasso made on the same day. Picasso dated, numbered and signed all of them.
The drawings depict different moments and protagonists of the bullfight, from the banderilleros trying to spear the bull with their banderillas (decorated barbed darts), to the horse-riding picadores (horsemen that bullfight) attacking the bull with a long spear to weaken it, and the matador, the star bullfighter who engages in the ultimate death of the bull. Bullfight Scene illustrates a dramatic moment in which the picador spears the bull as it charges, while the matador stands in the background, ready to step in for the final phase of the killing to begin. They were first shown at the Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris, at the end of 1960, together with other subjects inspired by Spain.
We do not know as to how and when Maharani Sitadevi Gaekwar bought this drawing, but we do know that she was the first owner of this Picasso. The confirmation of her ownership comes from the fact that this drawing was a part of her art collection which she sold when she was in financial difficulty. The complete list of these works of art is mentioned in the catalogue titled -Vente de la Collection de la Maharani de Baroda.
This drawing remained in the private collection till it was sold at Sotheby in London in 2002. The buyer then resold it again in May 2009. The painting went for a whopping 170,500 USD or a whopping 77 lakhs. It is now owned by the Tate Gallery in London.