- Associated Press - Friday, April 8, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) - Helena Rubinstein, the self-made businesswoman whose name was synonymous with elegance and beauty, was also a patron of the arts and often sat for Salvador Dali and other celebrated artists.

Twenty portraits of her are slated to be auctioned at Sotheby’s in two separate sales, five on May 3-4 and the others in October.

Among them is Dali’s 1943 painting. “Princess Arthchild Gourielle-Helena Rubinstein,” which depicts Rubinstein chained to a rocky cliff by her jewels. Although Rubinstein was 73 when the portrait was made, the Surrealist artist portrayed her as a young woman to represent “the immortality of her fiery and energetic character and the legacy of her accomplishments and career,” Sotheby’s said.

The portrait is estimated to bring $1 million to $1.5 million on May 3.

Rubinstein, who died in 1965, was a close friend and patron of Dali and commissioned him to decorate her 30-room Manhattan triplex with three murals. The portrait was painted a year later. Sotheby’s said the title is a reference to her marriage to her second husband, a Georgian prince.

In February, Sotheby’s in London auctioned Dali’s portrait of the French poet Paul Eluard for nearly $22 million, setting an auction record for the artist and the highest auction price for a Surrealist work. The sale also contains portraits of Rubinstein painted by the English artist Graham Sutherland, French painter Raoul Dufy and the Russian Surrealist Pavel Tchelitchew.

The portraits are being sold by the Helena Rubinstein Foundation. They will be displayed at Sotheby’s galleries beginning Saturday.

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