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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 January, 2004, 16:40 GMT
Sotheby's sells 78m collection
Pablo Picasso's Boy with a Pipe
Pablo Picasso's Boy with a Pipe is expected to fetch up to 39m
Auction house Sotheby's is offering a collection of 44 paintings worth $140m (78m), including pieces by famous artists Picasso and Manet.

The collection once belonged to New York's Whitney family. They will be auctioned in New York in two sales on May 5 and 19.

The highlight is expected to be Pablo Picasso's Boy with a Pipe painted in 1905, and worth $70m (39.3m).

A Sotheby's spokesman said it was their highest pre-sale estimate.

Last week, Sotheby's said it would offer up to $120m (67.4m) for a collection of Faberge eggs and other creations owned by the Forbes publishing family. The relics were originally made for the Russian Imperial family.

Edouard Manet's Races at Bois de Boulogne is another masterpiece to be sold in May. It is expected to fetch between $20m and $30m (11.2m and 16.8m).

The painting, from 1872, shows fashionable spectators watching a horse race.

The Whitney collection was long considered to be one of the finest in private hands in the US. Many of its paintings were loaned to museums and galleries.

The paintings are now the property of the New York-based Greentree Foundation. It was set up in 1982 by Betsey Whitney after the death of her husband, John Hay Whitney.

The foundation promotes promote human rights, peace and international cooperation.

John Whitney, was editor in chief and publisher of the New York Herald Tribune from 1961 to 1966, and chairman of the International Herald Tribune from 1966 until his death.

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