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World’s most expensive painting goes on exhibition

piccoosaThe painting by Pablo Picasso that last year broke all records for the price paid for a single work of art is to be displayed in public in the UK. Nude, green leaves and bust is being loaned to the Tate Modern by its owner, who remains anonymous. Sir Nicholas Serota, the director of the Tate, is understandably delighted at being able to display such an iconic painting. Picasso created this masterpiece one day in 1932, and it is part of a sequence of paintings depicting his love at time – Marie Theres Walter.

It was in May 2010 that this seminal work of art entered the record books, selling at New York auction house Christie’s for £66m, $106.5m. Previous to this sale, it had been in the same hands since 1951, when collectors Sidney and Frances Brody bought it for a mere $19,800. During their entire ownership it was only shown publicly once, to mark Picasso’s 80th birthday in 1961.

He painted Nude, green leaves and bust at the height of the passionate affair he enjoyed with Ms Walter, who was just a young girl of 17 when Picasso first met her in 1927. He apparently accosted her coming out of a Paris metro station and grabbed her arm, declaring who he was and his intentions towards her. The liaison lasted for 8 years until Picasso met Dora Maar in 1935, and swapped his affections. The painting clearly depicts the submissiveness of the subject, giving it almost as many critics as fans.

There has been endless supposition as to who the actual owner is, and the story that the owner is British has gained credence with it being displayed at the Tate. The New York Times suggested at the time that one bidder had been Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea FC.

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