Page last updated at 00:37 GMT, Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Picasso 'unseen' masterpiece fetches 8.1m at auction

A Christie"s employee looks at a 1963 painting entitled "Tete de femme (Jacqueline)" by Pablo Picasso on display at the auction house in London
Tete de Femme (Jacqueline) is a portrait of Picasso's second wife

A Picasso masterpiece unseen in public for 43 years has fetched more than twice its expected price at auction in London - going for £8.1m.

Tete de Femme (Jacqueline), a 1963 portrait of the artist's second wife, had not been seen in public since 1967.

A spokeswoman for Christie's auction house said the painting had been expected to fetch between £3m and £4m.

Jacqueline was said to have had a short neck and Picasso would "humorously" exaggerate its size in portraits.

The portrait had remained in the same collection since 1981 and never been offered at auction.

Tete de Femme (Jacqueline) fetched £8,105,250, including the buyer's premium.

Christie's Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale, in London, was on course to raise nearly £70m on Tuesday night.

Masterpieces by Picasso, Renoir and Matisse went on sale at the auction.

Christie's would not reveal the identity of the winning bidder.



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