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Picasso Sells for More Than $11M

November 18, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ A Pablo Picasso cubist masterpiece sold Tuesday for over $11 million, bringing the two-day auction total at Sotheby’s to $212 million.

``Clearly the success reflected the quality of the works offered. The Picasso has been in the National Gallery for 10 years,″ said Matthew Weigman, senior vice president at Sotheby’s.

A surprise hit of the auction was Richard Diebenkorn’s ``Horizon-Ocean View,″ a bright yellow and blue landscape expected to sell for $1.5 million to $2 million. It was the last work from a Reader’s Digest collection that was mostly auctioned Monday and sold for nearly $4 million.

The auction house also sold pieces by Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg as part of a contemporary, modern and impressionist art sale. Johns’ 1955 drawing ``Flag″ sold for $992,500, a record auction price for one his drawings.

The sale, part of a busy art auction season, came a day after Sotheby’s sold the heart of one of the world’s premier corporate art collections, amassed by Reader’s Digest co-founder Lila Acheson Wallace. The 37 works, expected to sell for between $70 million and $100 million, went for a total of $94.5 million, including several works sold Tuesday.

At Tuesday’s sale, 27 pieces came from the Morton G. Neumann family collection, which sold for $17.6 million. Neumann, a Chicago industrialist, became a self-taught collector of fine art with his wife. He died a decade ago and she died recently.

Picasso’s cubist painting ``Nude,″ from their collection, has been exhibited at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., was by far the biggest sale of the evening.

It depicts the artist’s mistress, Fernande Olivier, draped in a cloth and standing against distant mountain ranges.

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