Picasso painting La Lecture up for auction

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A portrait of the muse who transformed painter Pablo Picasso's life and art is to go under the hammer at Sotheby's in London next week.

La Lecture depicts his secret lover, Marie-Therese Walter, who was 17 when Picasso, then 45, introduced himself as she stepped off a Paris train.

Their relationship was kept secret for many years because of her age and because Picasso was married.

The 1932 painting is expected to fetch between £12m and £18m.

Ms Walter later said she had never heard of the artist when he first approached her saying: "I am Picasso - you and I are going to do great things together."

Until La Lecture was painted, Ms Walter had only appeared in Picasso's works in code with her features often embedded in the background of his paintings....

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