Picasso's mistress fetches $95 million

Picasso's 1941 portrait of his mistress, Dora Maar with Cat, has been sold for $95 million at Sotheby's, the second-most expensive painting in auction history.

    The work depicts Maar, Picasso's mistress, in a chair with a cat

    The world record for any art sold at auction is held by another Picasso, Boy With a Pipe, which Sotheby's sold two years ago for $104 million. The second-highest price before Wednesday was van Gogh's Portrait of Dr Gachet at $82.5 million, which sold in 1990.

    The vibrant, large-scale work depicts Maar, the surrealist photographer with whom Picasso was romantically involved  for a decade, seated in a chair with a small cat perched on the back.

    It had been expected to sell for $40 million or more, but the winning bid of $95,216,000  on Wednesday, including commission, caught even Sotheby's officials by surprise.

    The winning bid was

    $95,216,000,
    including commission

    David Norman, Sotheby's co-chair of impressionist and modern art, said after the sale: "I was hoping for 70-plus. We thought it was worth more, and we were right."

    Even Tobias Meyer, the usually unflappable auctioneer, admitted that he was surprised when the bidding passed $65 million.

    "The energy in the room was incredible," he said. "There's just a very clear, strong demand for the kind of intense painting with an emotional pull that the Picasso represents; things that are made for our times."

    The auction of impressionist and modern art brought in more than $207 million, it's third-highest sales figure to date, Sotheby's said.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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