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U of Sydney’s Picasso sells at auction for $22M

- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 22, 2011

SYDNEY (AP) - A Pablo Picasso painting given to the University of Sydney by an anonymous American donor has sold at a London auction for 13.5 million pounds ($22 million), school officials said Wednesday.

The 1935 painting "Jeune fille endormie" was donated to the Australian school last year on the condition that it use proceeds from its sale to fund scientific research. The money will help pay for research into obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, said the university's vice chancellor, Michael Spence.

There was fierce bidding at Christie's auction house on Tuesday for the painting, which depicts Picasso's lover, Marie-Therese Walter.

"We understand it was a British buyer," university spokesman Andrew Potter said. "We're not aware of the name. There is some suggestion the name will be released in the next few weeks."

The donor personally flew the painting to Sydney last year.

"The sale of this remarkable work is the result of one donor's extraordinary generosity who said, 'This painting is going to change the lives of many people,' Spence said in a statement. "They were right. We are grateful for their extraordinary generosity and delighted with the outcome of the auction."

Last year, another Picasso portrait of Walter sold for $106.5 million _ a world record price for any work of art sold at auction.

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