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New York -
Pablo Picasso's 1932 oil painting Le Sauvetage sold at auction for more than $31 million on Wednesday after a bidding war at Sotheby's in New York which saw it surge past its estimated pre-sale price.
The surrealist master's enigmatic work - which was last sold a decade ago - went under the hammer for $31.525 million 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. - Sapa-AFP