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Picasso fetches $45 million at Sotheby's sale

LONDON - A Pablo Picasso portrait of his mistress and "golden muse" Marie-Therese Walter sold for 28.6 million pounds ($45 million) on Tuesday, leading an important Sotheby's auction of impressionist, modern and surrealist art.
The sale was the first of a series held in London this month by Sotheby's, Christie's and smaller auction houses in the latest barometer of the strength of the high-end art market.
Prices for the most sought-after works have soared in recent years despite broader economic concerns, with collectors in China, Russia and the Middle East joining more established patrons in Europe and the United States.
Subtracting the buyer's premium of more than 10 percent, the amount realized for the 1932 Picasso was at the lower end of pre-sale estimates of 25 million-35 million pounds.
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