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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Picasso’s Mistress Makes $40.5 Million as Art Buyers Get Choosy

"La Lecture," a panel by Pablo Picasso. The work sold at a London auction for 25.2 million pounds ($40.5 million). "La Lecture," a panel by Pablo Picasso. The work sold at a London auction for 25.2 million pounds ($40.5 million). Source: Sotheby's via Bloomberg

A Pablo Picasso painting of his mistress last night sold for 25.2 million pounds ($40.5 million) as highly valued artworks attracted selective bidding.

“La Lecture” was estimated to make 12 million pounds to 18 million pounds at Sotheby’s in London. Ten of the 42 Impressionist and modern lots failed to sell, including a bronze by Alberto Giacometti.

“The auction did all right, not great,’’ the London-based dealer Alan Hobart of the Pyms Gallery said in an interview. “The auction houses are struggling to find the goods. Rich collectors are hanging on to their art. Once prices are driven up, the market becomes more discriminating.”

Classic works by modern artists with reputations such as Picasso are attracting investment-conscious new buyers from the emerging economies of Russia, Asia and the Middle East, said dealers. Choosy bidders held back on other lots, in contrast with the equivalent event last year, which raised twice as much, boosted by the record 65 million pounds for another Giacometti bronze.

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