LONDON: Pablo Picasso's 1932 'La Lecture' on Tuesday sold for £25.2 million ($40.7 million) during an auction at London's Sotheby's, the auction house said Tuesday.
The painting shows Picasso's cubist portrait of his mistress and muse Marie-Therese Walter, who has been credited for being highly influential in the painter's artistic development. In 1932, Walter was just 17, while Picasso was 45, but their relationship was kept secret for a long period due to Picasso's marriage with Olga Khokhlova, as well as Walter's young age.
'La Lecture' was expected to sell for somewhere between £12 million ($19.3 million) and £18 million ($28.9 million), but with seven bidders, the artwork well surpassed the expectations. Sotheby's Impressionist and Modern Art sale received a total of £71.4 million ($114.7 million), marking its latest auction.
Picasso, originally from Spain, lived most of his life in France, and despite beginning his career with realistic artworks, his style later developed until being credited with co-founding the cubist movement.
Other famous paintings by Picasso that rank amongst the world's most expensive include 'GarÇon À la pipe,' which sold for $104 million also at Sotheby's on May 4, 2004, 'Dora Maar au Chat,' $95.2 million at Sotheby"s on May 3, 2006, and 'Nude, Green Leaves and Bust,' $106.5 million, sold at Christie's on May 4, 2010, which is also a 1932 portrait of Walter.