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Picasso's Seated Woman in Blue Dress sells for $45m

person walking past the painting Image copyright AFP
Image caption Picasso painted his lover Dora Maar in a purple hat, in his distinctive distorted style

One of Pablo Picasso's best-known portraits has been sold at auction in New York for $45m (£35m).

Femme Assise, Robe Bleu (Seated Woman in Blue Dress) features one of his many lovers, Dora Maar.

During World War Two, the Nazis seized the painting but were intercepted on their way from Paris to Moravia by French Resistance fighters.

In 2015, Picasso's Women of Algiers sold for $179m at Christie's - a record for a picture sold at auction.

Seated Woman went to a US collector and six years ago it was sold for $26m.

Dora Maar and Picasso had an intense relationship for nine years. He painted Seated Woman in 1939, when he was 58 and she was 31.

It is one of the great Picasso portraits of his middle years, inspired - as so often - by love and by powerful sexual desire, BBC arts correspondent Vincent Dowd reports.

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