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Picasso Paintings Sell for $1.87 Million

June 27, 2005

PARIS (AP) _ A former mistress of Pablo Picasso sold 20 of his sketches at a Paris auction Monday for a total of $1.87 million, officials said.

A sketch titled ``Odalisque″ went for the highest price at $575,357, more than three times the estimated price, Artcurial auction house said. The buyer was not identified.

Genevieve Laporte had a two-year secret affair with the artist in the 1950s.

Now 79 years old, she told The Associated Press earlier this month that she kept the sketches Picasso gave her in a safe because she was worried about thieves. But now she wants to part with them.

``I’m at the end of my road,″ she said.

The two had their on-and-off affair when Picasso was with the painter Francoise Gilot, the mother of two of his children.

The sketches are of Laporte. Most were drawn when Picasso took a break from Gilot in the summer of 1951 to vacation in Saint Tropez with Laporte, the poet Paul Eluard and his wife, Dominique.

Many sketches from the vacation bear the inscription, ``For Genevieve.″

One Cubist-style drawing shows Picasso’s face hidden in Laporte’s tangled hair. When the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, showed the sketches, it called them his ``Genevieve period″ or ``Tender period.″

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On the Net:

Artcurial Auctions, http://www.artcurial.com/index_uk.html

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