Picasso portrait fetches near $45M at auction

By the Associated Press | February 5, 2013 | 6:31 PM EST

FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2013 file photo, an expert from Sotheby's auction house gestures as he describes a 1932 painting by Pablo Picasso entitled “Femme Assise Pres d'une Fenetre” (Woman Sitting Near a Window), at Sotheby's auction house during a press preview in London. The painting fetched 28.6 million pounds ($44.9 million) at a London auction held Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)

LONDON (AP) — A Picasso painting of his muse has fetched 28.6 million pounds ($44.9 million) at a London auction.

The 1932 work, "Femme Assise Pres d'une Fenetre (Woman Sitting Near a Window)," is a portrait of the artist's "golden muse," Marie-Therese Walter.

Picasso first met his muse in Paris in 1927, when she was 17 years old, and the pair subsequently became lovers.

Helena Newman, who heads Sotheby's Impressionist and Modern Art department in Europe, called the painting a "stunning and monumental portrait" from one of the most celebrated periods in Picasso's life.

She added Tuesday that there has been a strong market for Picasso's portraits of Walter among collectors in recent years. Another portrait, "La Lecture," sold for 25 million pounds in 2011, double its pre-sale estimate.