Picasso Portrait Sells For $29 Million

A rare portrait from Picasso’s blue period sold Monday for $29 million - three times its estimated value and the highest price paid for a painting at worldwide auction since the market flattened out five years ago.

Bidding for Picasso’s “Angel Fernandez de Soto,” sometimes called “The Absinthe Drinker,” began at $8 million and rose until a telephone bid went unchallenged.

Picasso’s 1903 painting depicts de Soto, his friend and fellow artist, seated in a Barcelona cafe. There is a nearly empty glass before him and a cloud of tobacco smoke shrouding the table.

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