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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 May 2006, 09:10 GMT 10:10 UK
Picasso portrait fetches $95.2m
Picasso's Dora Maar With Cat
Dora Maar With Cat was one of Picasso's last portraits
A Picasso portrait of his lover Dora Maar has been sold for $95.2m (51.8m), the second highest amount ever paid for a painting at auction.

The 1941 masterpiece Dora Maar With Cat was sold to an anonymous buyer at Sotheby's in New York on Wednesday.

Sotheby's said Dora's "sculptural presence" and the "gorgeous palette of colours" made it worth so much.

Its value ranked it behind another Picasso piece, Boy with a Pipe, which fetched a record $104m (57m) in 2004.

Sotheby's co-chair of Impressionist and modern art David Norman said he was "surprised, thrilled and grateful" at the sale's result.

"Besides just being Dora - who was one of his most famed lovers and subjects of his work - it's really just the presence and the execution of the picture that makes it so valuable," he said.

1. Boy with a Pipe, Pablo Picasso, $104m
2. Dora Maar with Cat, Pablo Picasso, $95.2m
3. Portrait with Dr Gachet, Vincent van Gogh, $82.5m
4. Au Moulin de la Galette, Pierre Auguste Renoir, $78m

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

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

Her influence on the artist is thought to have resulted in the most daring portraits of his career.

Other auction highlights included a new record for a Matisse work, which sold for $18.5m (10m).

Several other Picassos were also sold, including Harlequin with Baton, fetching $10m (5.5m).

"The energy in the room was incredible," auctioneer Tobias Meyer said.

"There's just a very clear, strong demand for the kind of intense painting with an emotional pull that the Picasso represents - things that are made for our times."

See the bidding for the artwork

Van Gogh painting sells for $40m
03 May 06 |  Entertainment
The art gems that broke the bank
07 Apr 06 |  Entertainment
Valuable Picasso comes to London
22 Mar 06 |  Entertainment
Picasso painting sells for $104m
06 May 04 |  Entertainment
Restless genius: Pablo Picasso
06 May 04 |  Entertainment
Who buys paintings for $104m?
06 May 04 |  Magazine


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