Wednesday, October 28, 1998 Published at 01:03 GMT
Picasso works sell for millions
A sketch of Picasso's lover Dora Maar
A collection of works by Pablo Picasso is fetching millions of dollars in what is being described as the art event of the decade.
At the start of a three-day auction in Paris, 32 paintings and drawings by Picasso sold for $27m.
The 1937 masterpiece was painted in the wake of Picasso's Guernica series inspired by the horror of the Spanish Civil War.
Another painting, Dora Maar with Green Nails, went for the smaller sum of just over $4m.
Also going under the hammer are small portraits of Dora made into jewellery, sketches on matchbox covers, photographs of Picasso, original books, notes, postcards, and letters.
Mistress and muse
She was Picasso's lover for seven years from 1936 after the two met in a cafe in Paris where she was herself an aspiring artist.
She had a tempestuous relationship with Picasso involving fights with his wife Olga and another of his mistresses, Marie-Therese Walter.
It was only after Maar's death that art experts examining her estate found the major works stored in a bank vault.
But not everyone is thrilled by the discovery.
James Lord, a close friend of Maar's, said: "Dora would be just horrified at all this.
"All this stuff was so personal to her. It's rather morbid to have it up for sale."
The beneficiaries are two elderly distant cousins of Dora Maar's who had never even heard of her.