Updated: Thursday, 08 May 2014 10:53 | By Agence France-Presse

Picasso painting fetches $31 million in NY auction

Pablo Picasso's 1932 oil painting "Le Sauvetage" sold at auction for more than $31 million after a bidding war at Sotheby's in New York which saw it surge past its estimated pre-sale price.


Picasso painting fetches $31 million in NY auction

"Le Sauvetage" by Pablo Picasso on display during a preview of Sotheby's Impressionist and Modern Art auction in New York on May 2, 2014 - by Emmanuel Dunand

The surrealist master's enigmatic work -- which was last sold a decade ago -- went under the hammer for $31.525 million on Wednesday following frenzied bidding over several minutes.

The painting had been expected to fetch between $14 million and $18 million.

The painting was part of 14 Picasso works offered by Sotheby's as part of its auction of Impressionist and Modern Art.

In total, eight lots were sold for an aggregate $62.088 million.

However one of the lots expected to generate most activity -- Picasso's "Tete de Marie-Therese" ("Head of Marie-Therese"), valued between $15 million and $20 million, failed to find a buyer.

Another important work "La Seance du Matin" by French master Henri Matisse, sold for $19.205 million, just below its lower estimate of $20 million.

A canvas by French impressionist Claude Monet, "Le Pont Japonais" ("The Japanese Bridge") meanwhile fetched $15.845 million, in line with its estimated range of between $12 million and $18 million.

Sotheby's reported total sales of just under $219 million.

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