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Picasso's 'Nude, Green Leaves and Bust' sells for record $106.5 million

By Bloomberg News
Wednesday, May 5, 2010; C03

NEW YORK-- Pablo Picasso's sinuous, lavender-hued painting of his mistress, "Nude, Green Leaves and Bust" (1932), sold for $106.5 million Monday night at Christie's International -- the highest amount ever paid for an artwork at auction.

The price surpassed the $104.2 million paid in 2004 for a 1905 Picasso painting, "Garcon a la Pipe," at Sotheby's in New York. And it exceeded the $103.4 million paid for Giacometti's sculpture "Walking Man I" (1960) in February at Sotheby's in London.

"Nude, Green Leaves and Bust" had been projected to sell for $70 million to $90 million.

The painting sold to an undisclosed bidder by phone during an impressionist and modern-art sale. The 69 lots on offer were estimated to sell for as much as $368.3 million.

The Picasso features his blond mistress Marie-Therese Walter. Other works from the same series belong to the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, casino mogul Steve Wynn and SAC Capital Advisors LP founder Steven A. Cohen.

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