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Picasso portrait fetches record price

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The artist’s portrait of Marie-Thérèse Walter, his “golden muse”, sold for £49.8m at Sotheby’s London on February 28.

A painting by Pablo Picasso has sold for nearly £50million (R821m) – the highest price yet paid for any painting sold on auction in Europe.

The artist’s portrait of Marie-Thérèse Walter, his “golden muse”, sold for £49.8m at Sotheby’s London on February 28. Titled Femme au beret et a la robe quadrillee (Woman in beret and checked dress), it was the prize piece in a 47-lot sale of impressionist, modern and surrealist art, and had a pre-sale estimate of £35m.

The colourful, 55cm-high canvas, painted in the same year as Picasso masterpieces such as Guernica and The Weeping Woman, was a head and shoulders study of Picasso’s mistress, Marie-Thérèse Walter, whom he had met in Paris 10 years earlier.

By 1937, Walter had given birth to Picasso’s daughter, Maya, and was competing for the artist’s attention with Dora Maar, the model for Picasso’s The Weeping Woman.

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