A Pablo Picasso painting of the muse who transformed his life has sold at Sotherby’s auction house in London for £25.2million.
The painting, called La Lecture, finally sold after 6 minutes of bidding to an anonymous telephone bidder.
The Picasso masterpiece is a portrait of his secret lover, Marie-Therese Walter, who was 17 when Picasso met her in Paris. He was 45 at the time.
They kept their relationship a secret for many years, mainly because of their age, but also because Picasso was married.
Walter is said to have not heard of the artist when he approached her in Paris, saying, “I am Picasso – you and I are going to do great things together.”
La Lecture was the first time that Picasso had actually painted Ms Walter, her previous appearances being in code, usually her features embedded in the background.
The pair later had a daughter, Maya, and it was this painting that led Picassos wife to realise he had another women in his life, leading to their split.
Walter also inspired numerous other Picasso masterpieces, including, Nude, Green Leaves, La Reve and Bust.