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EDITIONS
 Friday, 13 December, 2002, 13:01 GMT
Picasso sold to cut firm's debt
A Picasso painting
Works by Picasso are bought for millions of pounds
Debt-ridden media giant Vivendi is to sell a celebrated family art collection, including a 22-foot (6.7-metre) curtain painted by Picasso.

Vivendi - the world's second-largest media firm - said earlier this year that it would be selling off assets to help reduce its debts and hoped to raise 4.4bn by the end of 2002.

The collection, valued at around 15m, also includes major works by Joan Miro and Mark Rothko and was put together over 30 years by the Bronfman family.

The paintings, sculptures and drawings are housed at the Seagram Building on Park Avenue, New York, which the Bronfman family sold to Vivendi two years ago.

Vivendi spokeswoman Anita Larsen said: "The company has defined assets it no longer considers strategic in its portfolio.

Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso was one of the most influential artists of the 20th Century

"And the art collection fits into that category."

The Picasso curtain was painted in 1919 as a backdrop for Diaghilev's ballet Le Tricorne.

The Bronfman family said they were devastated by the decision to sell the collection. One member described it as "part of a whole Greek tragedy".

Meanwhile, in Houston, Texas, paintings by Picasso and Monet will be among more than 50 works by major artists to go on display in the US for the first time on Sunday.

The paintings will be at the city's Museum of Fine Arts until March after being loaned by the Pushkin Memorial Museum in Moscow.

The art show has been set up chronologically and spans the 17th century through to the early 1900s.

Also among the pieces are works by Van Gogh, Gaughin and Matisse.

The exhibition will next travel to Atlanta's High Museum of Art and later to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

See also:

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