April 10, 2008 / 3:46 PM / 10 years ago

Early Picasso watercolor fetches $160,000

LONDON (Reuters) - An early Picasso painting, depicting the artist in a naked embrace with his girlfriend, fetched 81,260 pounds ($160,000) at auction on Thursday, including buyer’s premium.

A man walks in front of an engraving by Pablo Picasso, at an exhibition in the northern port city of Thessaloniki February 22, 2008.REUTERS/Grigoris Siamidis

The watercolor was found propped up against a wall in a house in southwest England along with two paintings of horses by British painters George Stubbs and Alfred Munnings.

The Picasso dates from the early 1900s when the Spanish artist was in Paris, and is believed to show him in a lover’s clinch with lover Louise Lenoir, known as Odette.

“According to all the literature, he was the proverbial penniless artist, and sex was one of the few pleasures in which he could indulge,” said Guy Schwinge of Duke’s auctioneers, where the painting was auctioned.

He said it was bought by a London-based private collector for her husband.

Munnings’s oil painting of an Irish grey mare fetched 65,725 pounds including premium, and went to a private collector in Britain as a late birthday present to his wife.

The Stubbs, also of a grey horse, went under the hammer for 45,000 pounds, not including buyer’s premium, Schwinge said. All three works had been expected to fetch up to 100,000 pounds.

Reporting by Mike Collett-White

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