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Picasso portrait up for auction

[ 2010-03-19 11:16]     字号 [] [] []  
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Christie's auction house said on Wednesday that it will sell a celebrated Pablo Picasso portrait that was the subject of a dispute over its Nazi-era ownership.

Portrait of Angel Fernandez de Soto (The Absinthe Drinker) is expected to fetch between 30 million and 40 million pounds ($45 million and $60 million) at an auction in London on June 23.

The 1903 portrait, from Picasso's "blue period", is being sold by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber's charitable foundation. Proceeds will go to its work promoting the arts.

The painting - of a fellow artist with whom the young Picasso shared a studio - was withdrawn from sale in New York in 2006 after the heir of a Berlin banker who owned it in the 1930s claimed that his ancestor was forced to sell it under Nazi intimidation.

US courts threw out the lawsuit, and Christie's said the issue had now been resolved "by agreement."

Jussi Pylkkanen, head of Christie's Europe, Russia and Middle East division, said the painting was "one of the most important works of art to be offered at auction in decades" and could sell for a very high price.

He said recent sales had shown "there is a huge appetite for 20th-century modernism".

Despite the global financial meltdown, artworks at the highest end of the price scale have been selling for record sums.

Last month, Alberto Giacometti's sculpture Walking Man I sold at Sotheby's in London for just over $104.3 million, the highest price ever paid for an artwork at auction.

The record for a Picasso is only slightly less - $104.17 million, paid in New York in 2004 for Boy With a Pipe (The Young Apprentice).


1. Who will be selling Picasso’s work?

2. What is the expected price?

3. When was the portrait done?


1. Christie’s auction house.

2. Between 30 million and 40 million pounds ($45 million and $60 million).

3. 1903, from Picasso's "blue period”.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Picasso portrait up for auction

About the broadcaster:

Picasso portrait up for auction

Nelly Min is an editor at China Daily with more than 10 years of experience as a newspaper editor and photographer. She has worked at major newspapers in the U.S., including the Los Angeles Times and the Detroit Free Press. She is fluent in Korean and has a 2-year-old son.