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Picasso Portrait Sells for $20 Million

November 8, 1995

NEW YORK (AP) _ A sensuous Picasso portrait of the artist’s mistress sold for $20 million at Christie’s as the fall art sales got off to a strong start.

As expected, works by Pablo Picasso dominated the sale of Impressionist and modern art on Tuesday. Together, Christie’s and Sotheby’s were offering 27 Picassos with a total value of at least $70 million at their main sales this week.

Picasso’s portrait of Marie-Therese Walter, titled ``The Mirror″ and completed in 1932, sold for more than Christie’s presale estimate of $10 million to $15 million but less than its $26.4 million price tag in 1989 during the height of the art boom.

The buyer then, reportedly Japanese collector Shigeki Kameyama, was the seller Tuesday.

A 1905 Picasso, ``Boy With a White Ruff,″ sold for $12.1 million, also more than its presale estimate of $10 million.

The painting is considered by many to be Picasso’s last full portrait of his ``rose″ period, given its name by the dusky hue used by the artist.

The art auctions continue tonight at Sotheby’s, where the works for sale include Picasso’s ``Seated Woman″ from 1938, a harshly distorted portrait of another of his mistresses, Dora Maar. It is estimated to sell for $7 million to $9 million.

On Tuesday, Christie’s sold 55 of the 62 lots offered for a total of $107.7 million, just over the auction house’s high estimate of $105.5 million.

A 1916 painting by Amedeo Modigliani, ``Portrait of the Sculptor Oscar Miestchaninoff,″ fetched $9.3 million, and a third Picasso, a cubist still life from 1911, ``The Independent,″ sold for $7 million.

The Modigliani and the Picasso still life were sold by a European estate, reportedly that of Jacques Koerfer, a German businessman who lived in Switzerland.

The buyers were all anonymous.

Two works by Henri Matisse _ a 1951 cutout and a 1938 painting of two women _ each sold for $6.4 million.

Claude Monet’s ``Water Lilies″ from 1908 sold for $5 million.

The Matisse cutout, ``Chinese Fish,″ was sold by the Victoria Sperry trust. Christie’s did not disclose the sellers of the other top lots.