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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 March 2006, 10:21 GMT
Valuable Picasso comes to London
Picasso's Dora Maar With Cat
Dora Maar With Cat was painted at the height of the couple's stormy relationship
One of the last portraits painted by Pablo Picasso is to go on display at Sotheby's auction house in London.

Dora Maar With Cat, which depicts one of the Spanish artist's many lovers, is expected to fetch $50m (28.5m) when it goes on sale in New York on 3 May.

The 1941 artwork will become one of the 10 most expensive paintings ever sold if it commands that price.

Four Picasso paintings are already in this league, including biggest seller Boy With Pipe, sold for $104m (59.4m).

The 1905 painting was sold in 2004 to an anonymous buyer at Sotheby's in New York.

Daring portraits

Dora Maar, who was also an artist, is said to have helped with the execution of Picasso's masterpiece depicting the horror of the Spanish Civil War, Guernica.

The couple's relationship lasted a decade during the 1930s and 40s.

Her influence on the artist is thought to have resulted in the most daring portraits of his career, which spanned 75 years, including his own three-quarter length representation of Maar.

The portrait will be among a number of significant works to be displayed in London from 22-26 March, which will also be auctioned in May.

Other works from Picasso will feature in the exhibition, alongside paintings by Degas, Monet and Chagall.

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